FIFE Council has made its first award from the re-launched Fife Fisheries Development Fund.
Skipper Michael Bruce, who operates the M/V Shalimar out of St Monans, secured help towards the cost of installing a new onboard storage tank and aeration system for shellfish.
The new equipment will help Michael – who wearing his other seafaring hat is coxswain of the Anstruther lifeboat – to improve the quality of his catch and its market value.
The chair of the Fife Fisheries Development Group, East Neuk Fife councillor Elizabeth Riches, said that the local fishing sector makes a significant contribution to the Fife economy.
“It is important that Fife Council supports the jobs and businesses that make up this community” she said.
Although some landings take place elsewhere in the region, the Fife fishing sector is concentrated in the East Neuk, where it is a key part of the local economy.
Councillors of the North East Fife Area Committee endorsed the re-launch of the Fife Fisheries Development Fund in June.
The scheme is also backed by the Fife Fisheries Development Group, a forum of local politicians & fishing industry representatives, which lobbies on behalf of the local industry.
Fife Council Enterprise, Planning & Protective Services has made available a small discretionary grant fund of £15,000 for 2012-13, to create new or protect existing jobs.
The fund offers grants (up to a maximum payment of £2,500) to individual Fife-based fisheries businesses for investment projects.
These can include diversifying fishing operations, improving engine efficiency, staff training, marketing or improvements to product quality.
The scheme is operated in partnership by Fife Council, Business Gateway Fife and the Fishermen’s Mutual Association.
The photograph shows councillor Elizabeth Riches