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Aquaculture sector's long-term future boosted by £360k grant from Stormont

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Edwin Poots during his visit to Movanagher Fish Farm in Ballymoney

Edwin Poots during his visit to Movanagher Fish Farm in Ballymoney

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots

Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Edwin Poots during his visit to Movanagher Fish Farm in Ballymoney

Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots has announced a £360,000 emergency support package for Northern Ireland's aquaculture sector.

The package aims to help businesses that have experienced a significant drop in sales as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aquaculture sector is considered a small but valuable niche market in Northern Ireland, employing around 131 people and supporting rural communities.

The scheme aims to assist producers of species like mussels, oysters, salmon and trout.

Announcing the emergency support package during a visit to Movanagher Fish Farm in Ballymoney yesterday, Mr Poots said: "Northern Ireland's fishing industry has faced extreme difficulties as a result of Covid-19 and is in urgent need of our support. I have already announced a £1.5m support package to help the fishing fleet and today I am announcing a further support package of £360,000 targeted towards the aquaculture sector.

"The aim of the emergency package is to help this sector to continue its work in growing, harvesting, shipping and delivering to customers all over the world and help the sector to be sustainable and profitable in the long term."

The support fund of up to £360,000 will be in the form of a grant payment, covering the three-month period March 1 to May 31, 2020 and will be based on the income lost from sales of aquaculture products due to Covid-19.

Average monthly sales over the past three years for each business will be used as the baseline.

Belfast Telegraph