This page provides an overview of the Fisheries and Seafood Program (FaSS) and how to apply. For detailed information, including definitions, please read the general scheme guidance document.
About the Fisheries and Seafood Program
The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme will provide financial support for projects in England that ensure sustainable growth in the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors, and that protect and enhance the marine environment.
Objectives of the fisheries and seafood program
The Fisheries and Seafood Program will provide financial support for projects that support sustainable growth in the capture, processing and aquaculture sectors, and improve the marine environment. The program is available to applicants whose companies and / or vessels are registered in England.
The program will provide funding for a range of projects that address the following seven strategic priorities:
- promote a sustainable sector for future generations;
- protect the marine environment, by reducing the environmental impacts of the sector;
- providing world-class science and innovation;
- support coastal communities to promote economic growth and social inclusion;
- support the reform of the management of stocks and quotas to ensure a balance between fishing possibilities and capacity;
- improving the value chain through marketing and transformation, opening up the potential for English businesses at home and abroad;
- develop the industrial infrastructure that is essential to support sustainable growth across the sector.
Not all areas of the program will always be open to support. Some areas will be opened later and for a defined period of time, through a tour de table.
Who can apply for funding?
To be eligible for this program, you must be one of the following:
- A person or business engaged in commercial / recreational marine fishing, aquaculture or processing
- A public body / local authority in a local community that focuses on fishing / aquaculture activities (including trusted ports and ports of local authorities, and public bodies, using funds for environmental improvement / fisheries management)
- A university or research institute
- A newcomer to the industry or an unemployed person who could benefit from knowledge / skills in fishing / aquaculture activities.
You will need to report whether you have received funding from other government financial support programs and, if so, for what reason.
If you are a business, you will need to declare whether you are in the category of micro-entities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or large enterprises.
Who cannot apply for funding?
You cannot apply for and receive funding if you have:
- been found guilty of fraud in connection with any other fishing program;
- been convicted of an offense that the MMO considers to be a “serious offense” or fraud, within 12 months of the request.
Please read the Guide to Inadmissibility and Fraud here.
What activities can the Fisheries and Seafood Program support
You should consult the relevant guidance note for the project for which you are seeking funding. These define what you can and cannot ask for. The guidance notes cover:
If we consider that you can afford your project without program support, your project will not be approved.
At a minimum, all projects will be evaluated for value for money, benefits to be provided, affordability and ability to deliver.
It is your responsibility to ensure that:
- your project is technically viable and complies with all relevant health and safety laws, other project-specific safety requirements and all other legal requirements;
- equipment purchased with program funding meets all necessary legal requirements. If any material subsequently purchased becomes obsolete or illegal, it is at your own risk. There can be no refund or claim against the program;
- all relevant legal requirements of the project are met
What activities the Fisheries and Seafood Program cannot support
You cannot get funding for:
- increasing the catching capacity of fishing vessels and / or activities that would negatively affect the exploitation of fish stocks;
- increase your vessel’s ability to find fish;
- increase the capacity of fish holds;
- the construction, purchase or acquisition of fishing vessels or their importation;
- practice exploratory fishing;
- pulse trawling;
- the same type of equipment for the same vessel if you have already been supported by the device;
- transfer of ownership of a business;
- direct restocking unless explicitly provided for as a conservation measure or in the case of experimental restocking;
- the purchase or construction of inland fishing vessels;
- statutory or mandatory commitments – items and services that are statutory or mandatory requirements of law and regulations cannot be funded;
- preventive or scheduled maintenance costs;
- maintenance and mandatory costs for all vehicles;
- the purchase or rental of vehicles which are not used exclusively to make a direct contribution to the project;
- interest on a debt;
- the purchase of land or housing worth more than 10% of the total expenses of your project;
- the cost of operating your business, unless otherwise specified by the MMO in your letter of offer
- loan repayments on any item you have purchased;
- the costs of any item purchased with a loan until loan repayment (this does not include items that are leased as long as your letter of offer allows funding for them);
- all costs that have been fully or partially funded by an alternative grant;
- any costs that you could recover in part or in whole by making a claim on an insurance policy or by seeking compensation or damages.
- Cost for any item purchased prior to receiving acknowledgment of your MMO funding request
Please contact the MMO if you are unsure whether or not your project is eligible for funding.
How to register
All applicants applying to the Fisheries and Seafood Program should read the General Guidance Document (link) as well as the Project Specific Guidance (link) before applying.
You can apply for financing online using the Electronic support system for fishing and seafood. You may need to complete more than one application if your project has different elements. You should read the associated instructions for each part of your application.
If your application is successful, you will need to be able to pay for your entire project up front – you can then claim the costs from MMO.
You may be able to claim up to 10% of the total eligible project for costs incurred before the date of acknowledgment received from the MMO. These costs should relate to activities directly related to the project and to the provision of professional services that have helped the demand move to the demand stage, for example architectural plans. We will decide if you are eligible to claim these charges and our decision is final.
If you start working before you receive your acknowledgment email, your project may not be eligible for funding.
Expression of interest (EOI)
You can submit an “expression of interest” form to see if a project is eligible before completing an application form or responding to a round of funding. This is not essential but can help you understand if your project is likely to meet the funding criteria.
Please see our additional tips for help on how to file a Expression of interest
You must apply online using the Electronic System of the Fisheries and Seafood Program.
To complete the request, you will need the following information:
- The appropriate guide for completing your application form;
- Your business details such as your accounts, business registration number and VAT number.
More information on the necessary supporting documents can be found in the general scheme guidance document.
We will contact you within 5 business days to confirm receipt of your request. After that you can start working on the project, but it’s entirely at your own risk. The item, supplier and cost must be the same as in your request: any deviation will render the costs ineligible.
We will assess your request within 8 weeks of receipt and notify you if further information is required. Once we have all the information we need to make a decision, we will contact you to tell you whether or not your application has been successful.
If approved, you must let us know about the progress of your project when you request payment, whichever comes first.
You can also find more details in the post-application guidance document.
Marine management organization
Hampshire Court Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: 020802 65539
Email: [email protected]