A local fishing boat has been given a new lease of life thanks to Fife council and the Fife Fisheries Development Fund (FFDF).
Skipper Matthew Burns, who operates the M/V ‘William John’ out of Pittenweem, secured £2500 towards the cost of a replacement marine engine for the boat, which is over 25 years old.
The discretionary grant fund is available to individual Fife-based fishery businesses to help with investment projects.
Bill Hughes, manager of the Fisherman’s Mutual Association in Pittenweem (FMA), who administers the scheme on behalf of Fife Council, said: “I’m delighted to receive this grant on behalf of Matthew. 2012 and 2013 have been difficult fishing years.
“Like most of Fife’s inshore fishermen, Matthew’s business is small and a new engine is a big expense.
“Replacing aging engines with newer, more fuel efficient models reduces costs. Investment support of this kind can really help local fishermen to remain viable.”
The Fife Fisheries Development Fund is backed by councillors of the North East Fife Area Committee and Fife Fisheries Development Group - a forum of politicians and fishing industry representatives that lobbies on behalf of the local industry.
Councillor Elizabeth Richies, chairman of the development group, said: “The local fishing sector makes a significant contribution to the Fife economy so it is important that Fife Council does all it can to support the jobs and businesses that make up this community.”
The Council has operated the discretionary grant fund since 2009 and in June 2013 the FDDF was relaunched.
The FFDF is available to individual Fife-based fishery businesses and can cover up to 50% of eligible costs with a maximum of £5,000. It can help with investment projects such as improving engine efficiency, diversifying fishing operations, improvements to product quality, staff training and marketing. The FFDF is operated in partnership by Fife Council, Business Gateway Fife and the Fishermen’s Mutual Association (Pittenweem) Ltd.