Seafood businesses in Scotland will be supported in their recovery from the impact of Brexit and Covid-19 with £1.8 million in funding.

Managed by trade marketing body Seafood Scotland, the funds will assist businesses in accessing new domestic and overseas markets, including Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Work will also include developing strategies to encourage sustainability, and improve quality assurance and accreditation of seafood produce.

There will be campaigns to urge consumers to ‘buy local, support local’ and Seafood Scotland plans to form links with leading chefs to put Scottish seafood produce on menus around the world.

Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “The last 16 months have been devastating for businesses in the seafood sector who have faced significant losses due to hospitality closures from Covid-19 and a raft of new trade barriers and bureaucracy following Brexit. The seafood sector is a crucial part of our rural economy, supporting jobs in coastal communities and our priority has been to protect people’s livelihoods.

“While we continue to work to resolve some of the export issues the sector faces, this new funding will help the sector’s longer term recovery from these recent challenges. The funding for Seafood Scotland will help businesses explore new markets, giving them the support to promote their products across the UK and further afield.”

Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland said: “The Scottish seafood supply chain is now firmly in recovery mode, with ambitious plans to access new markets and to grow existing trade relationships. Our role is to support them on this journey, opening doors to new opportunities, and to spread the word about the quality of our produce, which is prized the world over.”