Largs-based fishing boats could receive financial support from the Scottish Government during the coronavirus outbreak.

Initial funding of more than £5 million will be made available to over 650 fishing companies, many of whom have collapsed due to the lack of export markets for Scottish langoustine, prawns and crab.

A payment of half of two months average earnings will be made available to owners of full-time Scottish registered fishing boats of 12 metres and under, many of which operate from island communities.

Support is also coming for onshore processing industries, one of the largest employers in coastal communities, which have been affected by the loss of markets.

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The economic impact of COVID-19 is global and is reaching into the heart of our fragile coastal communities. “I have spent the last week listening to and liaising with our fishing industry, and there are many who have lost their livelihoods with little prospect of an early recovery. The need for action is immediate.

“We recognise that more needs to be done, particularly to try and create some alternative markets – at least in the short-term. “I will be discussing with retailers how that might be achieved, and I would also encourage the public to play their part by buying Scottish seafood if they can.”

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels who meet the criteria, but queries can be emailed to