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 fishery and seafood diet
The Fisheries and Seafood Program will provide financial support to 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 assistance to projects that support sustainable growth in the catching, 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 finance a series of projects responding to the following seven strategic priorities:
- promote a sustainable sector for future generations;
- protection of the marine environment, by reducing the environmental impacts of the sector;
- deliver 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 companies at home and abroad;
- develop an 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, through a funding cycle.
Who can apply for funding?
To be eligible for this program, you must be one of the following:
- A person or company 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 trust ports and ports of local authorities, and public bodies, using funds for environmental improvement / fisheries management)
- A university or research institute
- A new entrant in 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.
If you are a business, you will need to declare whether you belong to the category of micro-entities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or large enterprises.
Who cannot apply for funding?
You cannot apply for or receive funding if you have:
- been found guilty of fraud in connection with any other fishing program;
- has 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 describe 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, accessibility and deliverability.
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;
- gear purchased with program funding meets all necessary legal requirements. If any equipment subsequently purchased becomes obsolete or illegal, it is at your own risk. There can be no refund or claim against the plan;
- 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 have a negative effect on the exploitation of fish stocks;
- increase your boat’s ability to find fish;
- increase the capacity of fish holds;
- build, buy or acquire fishing vessels or import them;
- practice exploratory fishing;
- pulse trawling;
- the same type of equipment for the same vessel if you have already received assistance under the program;
- transfer of ownership of a business;
- direct restocking unless it is explicitly provided for as a conservation measure or in the event 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 by-laws cannot be funded;
- preventive or scheduled maintenance costs;
- maintenance and compulsory 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 running 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 rented as long as your letter of offer is sufficient to fund 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 of any item purchased before the MMO receives acknowledgment of your 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 for the Fisheries and Seafood Regime should read the General Guidance Document (link) as well as the Project Specific Guidance (link) before applying.
You can apply for funding online using the Electronic support system for fisheries 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 – then you can claim the MMO fees.
You may be able to claim up to 10% of the total eligible project amount for costs incurred before the date of acknowledgment received from the MMO. These costs should relate to activities directly related to the project and the provision of professional services that helped the request move to the request stage, for example architectural plans. We will decide if you are eligible to recover these charges and our decision is final.
If you start working before you receive your confirmation email, your project may not be eligible for funding.
Expression of interest (EOI)
You may wish to 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.
You must apply online using the Electronic system of fisheries and seafood regime.
You will need the following information to complete the application:
- The appropriate guide for completing your application form;
- Your business details such as your accounts, business registration number and VAT registration 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. Item, supplier and cost must be the same as in your application: any deviation will render 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 notify us of 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