The Scottish Government has established a further scheme worth £10 million to support seafood processing businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

The sudden closure of international markets for seafood such as langoustine, prawns, crabs and lobsters threatens the future of seafood processing plants, which are key employers in the Western Isles.

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund provides a combination of grants and loans to businesses and follows the announcement last week of a support package of £5 million to support the sector. Grants up to £105,000 will be available to businesses who meet the Government criteria and detail will be published in the coming days.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said: “This support is crucial to ensuring that seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis.

“I have been in continual contact with factories in the Western Isles who describe the extreme difficulties they are facing due to the almost complete loss in sales. The fishing sector is a mainstay of the islands economy and processing plants are a key link in the supply chain.

“This fund will address acute problems with cashflow and ensure that businesses have the capital to keep people on the payroll. I would also urge Western Isles residents to consider purchasing local seafood to create alternative markets and bring an amount of cash through the tills.”