A £5.6 MILLION funding boost for Scotland’s “vital” marine economy will help firms create jobs, Rural Minister Mairi Gougeon has said.

Sea fisheries and processing businesses will share £4.2 million in the latest round of cash from the EU’s European and Maritime Fisheries Fund.

The remaining £1.4million is to be contributed by the Scottish Government.

Among the companies to benefit are Seafood Scotland, which will receive £1.3 million to help maximise key export markets, while JK Thomson in Musselburgh will get £1.35 million to help pay for the construction of a new processing factory.

With the planned October date for the UK’s exit from the EU looming, Ms Gougeon called on the UK Government to commit the necessary cash to allow the funding scheme to continue after Brexit.

Gougeon said: “The marine economy plays a vital role in supporting coastal communities and is critical to our ambitions to double the value of our food and drink industry.

“From grants which will help open up existing and new export markets to the funding of new and improved factory facilities, this £5.6 million investment will support the marine economy supply chain, boosting growth and creating local jobs. “With this round fully committing all allocated funding to the Scottish processing sector, I call on the UK Government to meet its pledge, to provide the required additional funding to allow future rounds to proceed so that businesses can continue to grow and deliver sustainable economic growth for the seafood sector.

“This funding should be transferred to the Scottish Government for disbursement in Scotland, in line with the devolved settlement.”