Defra Fisheries Response Fund – Support for Fishing and Aquaculture Businesses

Please note this fund is administered by the Marine Management Organisation. All enquiries should be sent to the contact details at the bottom of this page.


£10 million financial assistance for England’s fishing and aquaculture businesses in response to Covid-19 was announced by Defra and HM Treasury on 17 April 2020.

There will be two funds, both administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) that will target those most in need. The first fund of £9 million is called the Fisheries Response Fund (FRF) and will directly contribute towards the fixed business costs of over 1000 catching and aquaculture businesses that have been adversely impacted by the downturn of export and domestic markets for fish and shellfish.

Qualifying fishing vessel owners will be contacted directly in stages by MMO from Monday 20 April 2020.

Further information for aquaculture businesses will be provided from next week.

The second fund has a value of £1 million and will be a grant scheme to support the sale of fish locally. MMO will administer applications for this scheme and will provide further details from next week.

For frequently asked questions on the fund please visit:

Payments to the catching sector from the Fisheries Response Fund (FRF)

Funds payable under the FRF to fishing vessel owners for fixed business costs are calculated from the average fixed business costs for the size of vessels, as surveyed and published by the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish), in their 2018 economic survey.

Eligible fishing vessel owners will receive fund payments for up to three months, with initial payments paid to cover two months (for April and May 2020). Payments will be made directly into nominated business bank accounts.

Fund payments may be extended to a third month, dependent upon a review of industry and market conditions.

Further updates on this will be given at the end of May.

Fund payment amounts will vary according to the overall length of the vessel, as detailed in the table below.

Vessel length Month 1 April 2020 Month 2 May 2020 Total payable for April and May
0 to 5.9m £600 £600 £1,200
6 to 7.9m £800 £800 £1,600
8 to 9.9m £2,100 £2,100 £4,200
10 to 11.9m £4,200 £4,200 £8,400
12 to 14.9m £7,800* £2,200* £10,000
15 to 23.9m £10,000* £0* £10,000

*The maximum payment from any aspect of the FRF will be £10,000 in total per vessel.

Eligibility criteria and process for catching sector Fishing Response Fund (FRF) payments


The FRF will be administered by MMO, and has been set up to help support fixed business costs of English fishing vessels. Fishing vessel owners may continue to fish, and may also qualify to receive payment in addition to other government assistance, including the business loan scheme, self-employed income support scheme, and other benefits.

Qualifying fishing business vessel owners must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be the owner of an English registered fishing vessel under 24m (overall length)
  • The vessel must be currently registered with MCA
  • The vessel must be licenced to fish by MMO
  • The vessel must have sales of £10,000 or more as recorded on sales notes supplied to Registered Buyers and Sellers, during the period 1 March 2019 to 23 March 2020.


Recognising the need to move rapidly MMO has mobilised and will work quickly to contact eligible owners.

MMO will email fishing vessel owners in stages from Monday 20 April 2020 starting with the smaller vessels.

The email will contain an application form along with other documents, including a privacy notice and declaration.

The application form must be completed then returned to MMO by email along with other required documents, including identification and banking information.

Eligible businesses will receive payment directly into their business bank account.

To further support industry, MMO will also extend its opening hours to 7pm weekdays and to Saturdays.

Payments to the aquaculture sector from the Fisheries Response Fund (FRF)

Further information for aquaculture businesses will be provided from next week.

£1 million grant scheme for local fish sales

A £1 million fund has been announced to fund grants for immediate assistance for local projects supporting fishing in coastal communities. MMO will administer applications for this grants scheme and will provide further details from next week.

Other government assistance available

These funds are in addition to the unprecedented support the government has already announced to protect workers and businesses against the current economic emergency.

Details of these measures can be found at can be found here

More Information and Enquiries

Further information is available at:  To allow the grants team to work as quickly as possible through all applications, please avoid contacting them unless you have a query on a live application.  You can email the team on [email protected] .

Telephone: 03300 416579

Opening Hours: 9-7 Mon-Fri, 9-1 Sat

Email: [email protected]