Detailed guide: Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS): how to apply for project funding

Marine Management Organisation

May 22
15:44 2020

The Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS) is now closed for applications. Applicants will be contacted when the judging process is complete.

Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS)

The Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS), administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), has been set up to help seafood businesses in England to increase the supply of local seafood to domestic markets.

The governments new DSSS will provide grant funding to projects that help to increase the supply of local seafood to domestic markets and help to increase consumption of locally caught seafood in the UK (whether live, fresh, landed and/or processed in England).

The 1 million grants scheme will help to support the fishing and fish processing sectors adversely affected by the downturn in export markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications are invited for projects that support the industry to adapt to domestic sales and be equipped for local and regional distribution, for example with plant and equipment to help with local seafood processing, or assets that can be shared at port such as storage and refrigerated vans.

In the longer term, the fund interventions will assist local economies of coastal communities, to help increase domestic consumption of seafood, improve food security and help ensure the UK population has ready access to a healthy and nutritious food source.

The Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme is funded by HM Treasury and the Maritime and Fisheries Fund (MFF). It is administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and is a joint endeavour between Defra, MMO, Seafish and the fishing industry.

Local seafood is defined as seafood landed in England and/or processed in England. This includes the use by English businesses of seafood landed into English ports by vessels or businesses that are not registered or owned in England.

The DSSS is a competitive process, with grants being awarded for projects to a maximum of 100,000.

Applicants may apply for all or part of the total cost of the project.

To allow projects to progress at pace, applicants will receive 25% of the grant award in advance (any advance payments will be offset against future claim reimbursements). All claims will require supporting invoices.

All funding under the DSSS must be spent by 31st December 2020.

See our one stop shop guide for further information on other support available for businesses and individuals.

Who can apply

Applications for projects are invited from businesses in the fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing industries engaged in activities which support the seafood supply chain in England.

Applicants may also apply for, or be in receipt of, a wide range of government schemes already announced to support businesses and individuals impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. See our one stop shop guide for further information.

You are not eligible to apply if:

  • Your project has already been fully funded or is seeking full funding from other schemes
  • You have been convicted of a serious infringement under Article 42 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 or Article 90 (1) of Regulation (EC) NO 1224/2009 in the 12 months before you apply
  • You have been convicted of fraud in the context of any fisheries funding schemes.

Because the fishing industry is a sector that has benefitted from other state aid funding, this fund is subject to the temporary state aid framework, which may mean some projects and organisations may not be applicable.

This applies if your undertaking has received other forms of support provided under the temporary state aid framework including the Fisheries Response Fund (FRF), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs) and Bounce Back Loan scheme, and the total amount of benefits you have received from all schemes has exceeded 120,000 (around 105,000). Note this includes the value of the fees and 12 months interest received from the CBILS and Bounce Back Loans, not the amount of the loan.

How to apply

The application form is available to download.

Applications are open from 2pm on Wednesday 29 April, 2020 to noon on Monday 11 May, 2020.

How awards will be decided

The government is working closely with the fisheries and seafood industry to support them through this challenging period. This is a joint endeavour between Defra, the MMO, Seafish, and the fishing industry, and this is reflected in the make-up of a decision-making panel with representatives from industry.

This panel will assess and score projects against the criteria shown below

Criteria overview

Project applications should meet any or all of the following key objectives:

  • Facilitate new growth in markets through innovative regional distribution.
  • Support the development of infrastructure to sell seafood landed into English ports, or seafood processed in England to domestic consumers.
  • Help develop the infrastructure necessary for the catching and processing sectors to connect directly with consumers (e.g. either through online platforms or through facilitation on the ground).
  • Have the potential to generate longer-term sustainable benefit to the seafood industry, creating supply chain resilience

The panel is looking for projects that:

  • create physical infrastructure that support new routes to market, which may need funds for storage or transportation
  • create digital infrastructure that support new markets such as the development of an online platform
  • aim to improve regional distribution through existing networks or connect previously unconnected regions in England

The awards panel will place priority on projects that:

  • Have the potential to provide an economic return
  • Are able to support multiple businesses
  • Address the gaps in existing support
  • Support plant and equipment to help with local fish processing
  • Support resources that can be shared at port such as storage, refrigerated vans etc.
  • Support projects where private co-ordination/co-operation might not currently be viable, for example projects with a regional, national or sectoral focus
  • Have the majority of budget on assets, rather than salaries
  • Pay due regard to all legal, regulatory and health and safety issues, understand any risks involved and have mitigation in place
  • Are achievable in the immediate to short term to deliver benefits at pace
  • Support the longevity of seafood post Covid-19
  • Are able to provide an element of match funding, though this is not essential
  • Provide value for money

Project specific criteria

Supply and demand

The project should help to meet the demand to bring seafood to people who want it but cant access it in their homes. It should help increase demand for seafood in an area where there is supply.


Projects may create physical or digital infrastructure that supports new routes to market. They may improve regional distribution (if existing networks existed), or connect previously unconnected regions (if existing networks did not exist).

Regional benefits

The project should deliver benefits for your area. It should make a difference by helping to sustain or create employment, open new routes to market in regions that are already connected or create new connections where they dont already exist between regions.

If possible, you should demonstrate how the project enables regional cooperation and/or supports businesses or organisations beyond your own in the supply chain or in the community. You may organise collaborations, between catching, merchants and processing locally or in regions.


The scheme is intended to support a rapid response to the immediate needs of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but if it has potential to sustain beyond this period and contribute to the long-term development of markets you should describe this. Legality

You project must be compliant with all relevant legal requirements, including fishing and environmental health regulations. You may need to confirm the environmental health regulations applying in your area with your local authority.


You should consider all relevant health and safety requirements relevant to your project and describe how you will ensure you are compliant.


Given the immediate requirements, you will need to demonstrate how you expect to deliver the project successfully in the immediate to short term and will deliver benefits at pace. A clear management plan describing the project will help.

Related Articles


  1. We don't have any comments for this article yet. Why not join in and start a discussion.

Write a Comment

Your name:
Your email:

Post my comment

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This

Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: