Cash loans of up to £20,000 are now available for those working in the South West’s fishing industry.
The interest-free loans, which are being provided by the PESCA Business Development Fund, are for start-up and growth enterprises which cannot obtain investment or grants from traditional routes.
Tim Godfrey, partner at South West accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, who has several clients in the fishing sector, said: “Those in the fishing trade continue to struggle as a result of a decline in the industry, so this offer of financial aid will come as a welcome boost.
“These loans are not just for fishermen, however, and any business with a link to the industry, such as those which process or sell fish, can also apply.”
Godfrey pointed out that successful applicants would receive the cash upfront which would help their business’s cashflow, and that the loans were also being offered to people looking for a way out of the industry.
Before receiving the loans applicants will have to show they cannot source the cash from any other sources, such as providing a letter from their bank.
And, although the money can be used for equipment and working capital, it cannot be used to purchase equipment designed to increase the size of a catch, such as a bigger boat or nets.
“For many people in the South West fishing is a way of life,” said Godfrey. “These interest-free loans will provide a lifeline and much-needed boost to the industry which will have positive knock-on effects for the region as a whole.”