Northern Ireland’s fishing fleet is to be offered money to stop fishing as markets for its produce shrink due to Covid.
A £1.7m pot is available to fishermen who wish to stop fishing for six weeks.
They can apply to either of two “tie-up” periods between mid-October and the end of November.
The closure of pubs, restaurants and workplaces across Europe has seen a big reduction in demand for full prawns and scampi – NI’s main exports.
The cash will help will crew costs, mortgage payments on boats, insurance and harbour fees.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots came to Portavogie harbour in County Down to announce the scheme.
Eighty per cent of the cash is from an EU fund, the rest is match funding from the executive.
This is the second cash scheme for the fishing industry. The last one in April was entirely executive-funded.
The assistance has been welcomed by the two main fish producing organisations.
They said it would enable them to control supply and shore up prices while they waited for markets to recover.
About £400,000 of the cash is for smaller boats that fish predominately for crabs.
The bulk will cover larger boats which mostly land prawns.