Peterhead’s fishing port to receive £5m investment funding

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Peterhead’s fishing port will receive a £5 million investment to expand floor space and improve efficiency, according to rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing.

The funding for Europe’s biggest fishing port will be split on an equal basis between the Scottish Government and the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund.

The investment will allow Peterhead Port Authority (PPA) to expand the floor space of its fish market by 50 per cent and bring together key services and facilities so fleets can complete port calls quicker.

Mr Ewing said: “Scotland’s fishing industry is a vital part of our rural economy with our fishing fleet generating £437 million last year. We are strategically-placed to have the best fishing industry in Europe and the Scottish Government is committed to doing all it can to make that a reality.

“That’s why our priority continues to be pursuing all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU as nearly half a billion pounds worth of seafood is exported to Europe and why we have been vocal that leaving could mean losing both a market and a source of vital funding.”

The annual negotiations at Brussels will take place on 12 December, where Mr Ewing will champion the best deal for Scotland’s fishing industry.

PPA chief executive Ian Laidlaw said: “Securing Scottish Government and EU support was essential in allowing us to progress with what will be the port’s largest development project in living memory, costing in total £49m.

“Maintaining Peterhead’s leading position in the market is not only important for Peterhead and Aberdeenshire, but also allows us to continue to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.”

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has called for a withdrawal from EU common fishery deals after the Brexit vote.

Yesterday Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: “As the minister has said, we are all on the same side here, we want the same objective, which is the best deal possible for Scots fishing.

“We are trying to focus on the opportunity.”

Mr Armstrong added: “We have just seen a beautifully-full market of wonderful fish. If Brexit is played correctly, there will be more of that.”