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Douglas Ross backs manifesto proposals to replicate £100 million UK seafood fund and supports prioritisation of fishing fleet when making marine planning decisions amid HPMA outrage in Scotland

13/06/2024

Douglas Ross has backed Conservative manifesto plans to replicate their £100 million UK Seafood Fund which he says will bring further benefits to North East businesses after almost £10 million was awarded to initiatives in Peterhead and Fraserburgh last year.

The Scottish Conservative leader hailed the pledge which he believes will further enhance the North East as the “heartland” for new science, research and technology to be used across the seafood supply chain.

Mr Ross also welcomed his party’s pledge to back the inshore fishing fleet when making marine planning decisions, recognising the competing pressure on marine space.

The Conservatives’ commitment states that a new UK Seafood Fund for the forthcoming year would be used to invest in harbour and fish market upgrades, provide new equipment and technology for fish processing and to support the growing aquaculture sector.

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Last year, £5 million was awarded to Northbay Pelagic in Peterhead for the upgrade of its processing facility while a further £850,000 was given to Alisrose Limited, also based in the town, to expand its wastewater treatment plant.

In Fraserburgh, £3 million was awarded for the creation of a world Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence and £1.4 million was given to wholesale fish merchants Enterfoods for a new seafood processing and cold store facility.

Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, Douglas Ross, said: “Fishing communities across the North East have been integral to the industry for generations and I welcome our commitment to replicate the £100 million UK Seafood Fund.

“The initiative brought vast benefits to businesses in areas such as Peterhead and Fraserburgh last year and I believe this pledge will further enhance the great work which has already been done for the sector.

“My party’s pledge to back the inshore fishing fleet when making marine planning decisions is also hugely welcome at a time when fishermen are rightly concerned that the SNP’s reckless HPMA proposals will reappear under a different guise in the future.

“We want to seize the opportunities of our freedoms outside the EU and the benefits of being out of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which has given us a far stronger voice in negotiations.

“In contrast, the SNP are all too happy to sacrifice this by not only re-joining the EU and the CFP but by breaking up the United Kingdom in the process.

“The Scottish Conservatives will always back the fishing industry and only a vote for us will ensure catching opportunities and landings increase as we continue to prosper from having full control of our waters.

“If voters unite around the Scottish Conservatives in key seats up and down Scotland, then we can get the focus onto people’s real priorities like growing our economy and backing key industries such as fishing, rather than the SNP continuing to obsess over independence.”

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