Seafood Response Fund (MMO Administered)

About the Scheme

The Seafood Response Fund (SRF) is designed to help UK fishing and shellfish aquaculture businesses that have been affected by the downturn of export and domestic markets for fish and shellfish due to the coronavirus pandemic and/or disruption to seafood exports earlier this year.

The SRF will directly contribute towards the fixed business costs of approximately 2500 eligible fishing and shellfish aquaculture businesses.

It will be administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra).

Who is Eligible

To be eligible for the Seafood Response Fund (SRF) you must be one of the following:

  1. A qualifying business within the UK catching sector
  2. A qualifying shellfish business within the UK aquaculture sector

Qualifying Businesses – Catching Sector

Qualifying fishing businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be the owner of a fishing vessel of under 40m in overall length registered in the UK
  • Vessels must be licenced to fish by the relevant UK fisheries administration in which they are primarily administered. Vessels administered by Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories are not included within this scheme.
  • The vessel must be currently registered with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • The vessel must have had sales of £10,000 or more, recorded on sales notes supplied by registered buyers and sellers of fish, between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019
  • The vessel must have evidence of landing fish caught over the winter period (December, January, February and March) in the years 2017 – 2021.

The scheme has been set up to help support the fixed business costs of fishing vessels registered in the UK. 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.

Businesses that have applied to the Scottish Seafood Resilience Fund (SSRF) may still be eligible, if they received less than they would have been paid from the SRF.  These businesses will be contacted direct and any sum received from the Scottish scheme will be deducted from the SRF payment.

Payments – Catching Sector

Payment under the SRF is calculated from the average fixed business costs for the size of the vessel, as surveyed and published by the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish), in their 2018 economic survey.

Eligible fishing vessel owners will receive a single payment directly into their nominated business bank accounts to cover fixed costs over the 3-month period from January to March 2021.

The payment will vary according to the overall length of the vessel, as detailed in the table below, up to a maximum of £10,000 per vessel.

Vessel length Average fixed costs (monthly) Total payment (up to £10,000 per vessel)
0 to 5.99m £800 £2,400
6 to 7.99m £1,200 £3,600
8 to 9.99m £2,600 £7,800
10 to 11.99m £4,400 £10,000
12 to 14.99m £7,700 £10,000
15 to 23.99m £13,200 £10,000
24 to 39.99m £26,900 £10,000

Qualifying Businesses – Shellfish Aquaculture Sector

To qualify, businesses must:

  • Operate an active shellfish aquaculture farm in the UK, cultivating and harvesting shellfish for consumption such as mussels, clams, oysters
  • Be authorised by the relevant fish health inspectorate in which the business operates

Businesses that do not qualify are:

  • Shellfish hatcheries, or businesses involved only in the supply of juvenile shellfish for aquaculture
  • Businesses involved only in the processing of shellfish or seafood products
  • Aquaculture farms that produce anything other than shellfish (ie salmon or trout farms or lobster pools)

Payment – Shellfish Aquaculture Sector

Payment is set in bands based on validated Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employee numbers, which provide an indication of the scale of the business. Payment will be up to a maximum of £10,000 per farm, as set out in the table below:

Shellfish farm size Monthly costs covered Total payment (up to £10,000 per farm)
<0.5 FTE £1,388 £4,164
0.5 to <1.5 FTE £2,776 £8,328
1.5 to <2.5 FTE £5,552 £10,000
2.5 to <3.5 FTE £8,328 £10,000
3.5+ FTE £10,000 £10,000

How Payments Will Be Made

MMO will contact eligible businesses directly, in phases, by email from the week commencing 8 March 2021.  The email will include a link to the online system where individuals can provide their details.  If you’ve used the MMO online system before, there will be no need to re-register.  If this is the first time using the system, you will need to register for an account using your e-mail address.  Please submit details by the given deadline in order to expedite payment. The aim is to make the majority of the payments by 31 March.

If you believe you meet the published eligibility criteria but have not been contacted by MMO directly by 21 March 2021, you will be able to submit your details and evidence of meeting the criteria via a link that will be published on this page from 22 March  to 26 March 2021.

Further Information

For further information please visit the Marine Management Organisation’s page on the Seafood Response Fund that is linked below.

Seafood Response Fund – MMO (Opens new tab)