The fishing and seafood industry will receive £5 million from the Scottish Government to help businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
Demand for Scottish delicacies such as langoustine, prawns and crab has fallen sharply as the export and hospitality markets contract.
The funding will be offered to 650 companies in the industry, including onshore processing firms.
Very tough week for everyone. Keeping in regular touch with SFF members and working across industry and with Scottish and UK governments to find ways to support our fleet through these unprecedented times.— SFF (@sff_uk) March 21, 2020
Owners of vessels less than 12 metres long will receive an initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings, administered by Marine Scotland.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The economic impact of Covid-19 is global and is reaching into the heart of our fragile coastal communities.
“I have spent the last week listening to and liaising with our fishing industry, and there are many who have lost their livelihoods with little prospect of an early recovery. The need for action is immediate.
“I am therefore announcing an initial package of support and Scottish Government officials are working as hard as possible to get this money out of the door as fast as we can.”
He added: “We recognise that more needs to be done, particularly to try and create some alternative markets – at least in the short-term.
“I will be discussing with retailers how that might be achieved, and I would also encourage the public to play their part by buying Scottish seafood if they can.
“By working together we can all play a part in securing the immediate future of some of the key contributors to Scotland’s food and drink success.”