Funding for Scottish ports and harbours that have lost income from landing fees due to Brexit disruption has been increased by the Scottish Government.
Ports and harbours that have been affected financially following Brexit have been able to apply for money to go towards safety improvements and repair works.
The fund was originally set at £1m, but the Scottish Government has now announced it is to be increased by an additional £800,000.
A total of 14 ports and harbours have been allocated funding so far, with ongoing discussions over applications at a further six sites.
The support includes £180,000 to install shore power for the fishing fleet at Mallaig, £125,000 for resurfacing works and dredging at Eyemouth, £534,979 for repair work at Fraserburgh and £182,000 for new lighting and a fish landing crane at Lerwick Port.
Fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing announced details of grants ahead of the third meeting of the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce on Friday, when he is expected to call for the UK Government to improve collaboration with the European Union.
Ewing has previously bemoaned EU vessels choosing to land their catches in countries such as Norway, Denmark and Ireland after the EU trade deal came into effect.
According to the Scottish Government, vessels registered in EU member states accounted for around 7% of all landings by value into Scottish ports in 2019 and were worth £35.5m, although this increases in smaller communities such as Ullapool, where around 13% of landings by value were estimated to be from EU vessels.
Ewing said: “Ports and harbours are the lifeblood of many of our coastal communities up and down the country.
“As a result of the botched Brexit deal and through no fault of their own, many are losing key landing fees from vessels and need this essential investment.
“Previously we committed £1m but I am pleased to be able to increase this to £1.8m so we can provide even more funding to approximately 20 ports and harbours and support jobs and livelihoods in our coastal communities.
“We’ve been working closely with the British Ports Association on this support and the ports and harbours will be able to start essential works immediately.
“While this funding will help our ports and harbours with longer-term recovery, I am calling on the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce to provide urgent short term solutions and produce clear guidance so EU vessels and their agents can understand and have confidence in the requirements, and continue to land in our ports, which rely on them for employment and economic stability.”