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Delight as £3 million given for creation of Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence in Fraserburgh

David Duguid at Peterhead Fish Market

THE UK Government has awarded £3 million towards building a “world class” Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence in Fraserburgh aimed at “transforming” the fishing industry.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said the announcement will make the North East the “heartland” for new science, research and technology to be used across the seafood supply chain.

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This cash injection, part of the UK Government’s £100 million UK Seafood Fund, will go towards building a Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence that will replace a temporary training space with a high-quality industry facility in Aberdeenshire.

Owned and operated by the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, the facility will include purpose-built classrooms, technical training and technology demonstration spaces and a seafood school.

A key component of Fraserburgh’s Regeneration Strategy, the centre of excellence will promote seafood industry career pathways in partnership with Fraserburgh Academy and other schools, strengthening the industry’s links with the community.

Other initiatives to have been given funding in this latest round of the Training Infrastructure element of the UK Seafood Fund include the upgrade of the Maritime Bridge Simulator at the University of the Highlands and Islands’ campus in the Shetland Islands.

The UK Seafood Fund has already supported several other projects across the North East, including £6.5 million which was given in July to Northbay Pelagic in Peterhead, wholesale fish merchants Enterfoods of Fraserburgh and Peterhead company Alisrose to modernise and expand their seafood processing facilities.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said: “I’ve been working with the SWFPA and others on this for the last six years and I’m absolutely delighted to see more UK Government fisheries support funding coming to Banff and Buchan.

“This vital financial backing, in addition to the £6.5 million given earlier this year to modernise and expand seafood processing facilities in the area, will help to bring economic growth to our coastal communities including Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Macduff and Buckie.

“The creation of the Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence in Fraserburgh will be transformational for the industry, helping to attract new entrants to the sector while upskilling the existing workforce.

“This funding will enable the North East to be the heartland for new science, research and technology to be used in fisheries management which will also help to boost UK seafood exports to new and existing markets across the world.

“I want to congratulate Mike Park along with other key industry figures and I look forward to working with them to help develop this exciting facility.

“The investment which is being made is a huge vote of confidence for the seafood and fishing sector and will help to ensure we remain world leaders in the industry.”

Mike Park, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said: “Our members and the wider seafood sector are delighted at the award of £3 million from the DEFRA training infrastructure fund, which will allow us to build a Seafood Centre of Excellence at the very heart of our fishing community.

“The centre will be the delivery point and hub for both onshore and offshore training supported by classroom and virtual learning and will provide an ideal base to help stimulate recruitment to the seafood sector.

“Alongside this, the government has also announced a further £154,000 is being invested into Round 4 of the infrastructure scheme, building on the £56 million which has already been invested through the scheme so far.”

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer added: “We have already seen the great success that funding from the UK Seafood Fund has contributed to – from upgrading ports and aquaculture facilities to creating innovative training programmes to attract fresh blood into the sector.

“Today’s investment will help to support the industry so that our existing and future workforce is equipped with the necessary skills and facilities to join the sector and benefit from the brilliant opportunities that are available to them with a career in seafood.”

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