Outer Hebrides Fisheries Investment Scheme


The Fisheries Investment Scheme (FIS) is a Comhairle-funded scheme supported by Western Isles Fishermen’s Association.

The Scheme aims to create and retain employment opportunities in the Outer Hebrides by encouraging business development in the fisheries sector.

Loan funding is available for fishers unable to access funding from the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Support Scheme which is only open to fishers younger than 40 years of age who acquire for the first time part or total ownership of a second hand fishing vessel.

It is expected that the vessel purchase will be financed primarily from a commercial loan from the applicant’s own bank and own funds, augmented by the FIS loan.

Each case will be judged on its merits and the main factors taken into account in assessing applications will include economic viability, assessed risk and need, employment implications, creation of additional demand for products and services and impact on local competition.

A condition of any loan funding from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is that any product landed must be offered initially to processors based in the Outer Hebrides at the prevailing market price.

Assistance Available

Loans of up to 40% of eligible project costs, subject to a maximum loan of £100,000 are available for the purchase of fishing vessels of less than 24 metres in overall length, equipped to go fishing at sea, up to 30 years old.  Maximum repayment term is 10 years. A commercial interest rate will apply and all Comhairle legal costs involved in registering the loan must be met by the applicant.

  • For other projects loan finance of up to £10,000 with a minimum loan of £2,000.  Maximum repayment term is 5 years.
  • Capital deferment for up to 2 years, in exceptional cases.

Policy And Priorities

The Fisheries Investment Scheme will seek to direct funding under the scheme to particular priority areas in order to maximise the long term impact of the Scheme within the local economy.  Fishing vessel projects which meet the following criteria will generally receive priority under the Scheme:

  • Vessels of 10 metres overall length
  • Vessels less than 10 years old with multi-purpose fishing capability
  • Applicants who have gained a Class II (fishing vessel) Ticket or are working towards an Under 16.5 Skippers Ticket
  • Suitably experienced younger fishermen taking their first step in vessel ownership

Note:  Public Sector financial assistance for new fishing vessel construction is currently precluded in the UK.

General Eligibility Criteria (All Applicants)

  • Applicants must demonstrate that they have worked at least three years as a fisher or have equivalent professional training.
  • The vessel acquired must be less than 24m in overall length, equipped to go fishing at sea and be up to 30 years old.
  • Eligible businesses must have fewer than 50 employees.
  • Businesses must operate on a full-time basis.
  • Applicants must be resident and maintain a business in the Outer Hebrides throughout the period of the loan.
  • Applicants must complete the Application Form and submit a Business Plan including projected financial statements for 3 years.  New applicants must also submit 6 months personal bank statements or, in the case of existing businesses, 6 months business account bank statements. Existing businesses must submit up-to-date accounts.
  • Only sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and co-operatives are eligible for assistance.
  • Applicants will be asked to demonstrate that other sources of funding relevant to their project have been approached.
  • Retrospective applications will not be considered for assistance.

General Conditions (All Applicants)

  • A Marine Mortgage must be provided as security for the loan.
  • Repayment of loan will be by monthly standing order from the applicant’s business account.
  • Proof of project implementation and expenditure must be provided prior to payment of loan.
  • Regular monitoring of businesses through Aftercare is compulsory and applicants must provide all necessary information.
  • A vessel survey must be commissioned by all applicants.

Fishing Vessel Applications

In addition to meeting the general eligibility criteria and conditions of the Scheme, all applications in respect of fishing vessels must comply with the following principal conditions:

  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over and have at least three years relevant fishing experience, two of which must have been gained in the Outer Hebrides area.
  • All Applicants / Owners and any crew must at all times be in possession of all statutory Safety Certificates, including: First Aid, Fire Fighting, Sea Survival, Safety Awareness and comply with GMDSS Radio Certificate requirements as specified by the Maritime and Coastguards Agency (MCA). Applicants should have applied for training for their under 16.5 metre skippers ticket. The under 16.5 metre skippers ticket, depending on area of operation, consists of all of the above courses plus, stability awareness, 2 day engineering, 2 or 5 day watchkeeping. It will be the responsibility of the skipper/owner to ensure that all the relevant certificates are valid.
  • Assistance will only be approved for vessels conforming to SFIA specifications and which meet current and anticipated Maritime and Coastguard Agency(MCA) standards for under 15 metre overall length vessels.
  • Assistance for vessels up to 30 years old will be conditional on a satisfactory marine survey report by a qualified Marine Surveyor who is on the applicant’s bank approved list of surveyors.
  • Priority will be given to vessels no more than ten years old and which have a fishing life of at least a further ten years.  Applications in respect of older vessels will be considered in certain circumstances.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of possession of necessary Fishing Licences, as required under the UK Fishing Vessel Licensing Scheme and, in the case of over 15 metres overall length vessels, a copy of the current MCA Safety Certificate.
  • Applicants must provide satisfactory evidence of adequate insurance cover in respect of the vessel, the life of the applicant (s) and all necessary insurances to meet the statutory obligations of employers. In respect of life insurance cover, the policy must be assigned to the applicant’s bank for the duration of the loan.
  • It will be a condition of assistance that the vessel’s Fishing Licence and Track Record (Entitlement) is included as an asset of the business and may not be sold or otherwise disposed of without the prior written consent of the applicant’s bank. In the event of disposal, proceeds from the sale of assets must be applied to any outstanding debt under the scheme.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of Full Registration and clean title in respect of the vessel forming the subject of the application.
  • Applicants must ensure that the declared engine horsepower of the vessel to be purchased corresponds to the Certificate of registry and Fishing Licence.
  • The vessel must be maintained in good working order and repair.  Major works to the vessel, other than those of urgent repair, may not be carried out to the vessel without the prior written consent of the applicant’s bank.
  • The vessel, Fishing Licence and Track record may not be sold, de-commissioned or otherwise disposed of without the prior written consent of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.


Funding options for Fisheries Investment Scheme
Term Loans:

Up to £100,000, for the purchase of fishing vessels of less than 24 metres in overall length, equipped to go fishing at sea, up to 30 years old.

For other projects loan finance of up to £10,000 with a minimum loan of £2,000.

Repayment Period:

Up to 10 Years for the purchase of fishing vessels of less than 24 metres in overall length, equipped to go fishing at sea, up to 30 years old.

For other projects maximum repayment term is 5 years

Interest: Commercial rates apply
Security: Marine Mortgage
Repayment Holiday: Discretionary - up to 6 months capital repayment holiday in exceptional circumstances
Arrangement Fee:    All Comhairle legal costs involved in registering the loan must be met by the applicant.
Level of Funding: Up to 40% of eligible costs

Scheme terms and conditions may change from time to time and you should contact one of our advisers on 01851 822775 should you wish to find out more about making an application and the terms that apply.

Contact Details

Contact us for help and advice, applications, or more information