Projects to help minimise the impact of lost fishing nets on the environment and innovative research into new trawl designs to reduce the number of other species accidentally caught by fishermen (bycatch) are among those to receive funding from the £100 million UK Seafood Fund, the UK Government announced today (Wednesday 3 August).

The Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme – which is part of the £100m UK Seafood Fund – brings together industry and researchers to deliver pioneering projects which promote the sustainable management of the UK’s fisheries and help equip the fishing industry for the future.

So far over £4 million has been made available by the UK Government to fund projects under the scheme. From today, a new funding round for the FISP is opening, with increased awards of up to £1 million for two-year projects and new eligible funding areas, allowing for a wider variety of more ambitious projects to receive support. The UK Seafood Fund will also be extended from 2024 until 31 March 2025 to help longer-term projects to succeed by giving them more time to use the investment.

In Shetland, one of the largest fishing communities in the UK which landed around £100 million of fish in 2019, Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis today visited projects supported through the scheme and heard directly from local fishermen.

Following the initial launch of the FISP scheme in 2021, when approximately £1.4 million was allocated, a number of ground-breaking projects are already underway and making significant progress.

For example, SafetyNet Technologies is exploring a new type of fishing net using LED lights as an effective tool to deter unwanted fish and prevent bycatch. FISP funding has been used to host workshops with scientists based in Aberdeen and to conduct sampling trips ahead of starting commercial trials on lobster and squid vessels this month.

The UK Seafood Fund supports infrastructure improvements, research and innovation around the UK coastline and is made up of four funding pillars: science and innovation, infrastructure, skills and training, and exports support.