December 2019 - Seafood Innovation Fund Round 1 - "Unsuccessful" April 01 2020


Award Decision

The assessment of applications for the Procurement is complete and Cefas regrets to inform you that you were not successful.

Unfortunately, the proposed project was not supported as the application did not convince the panel that this was the appropriate solution to the problem. The technical risks were very high, and evidence for economic viability was lacking. 

Specific comments by independent assessors based on the information provided in the proposal are provided below which I hope will be useful in understanding why your application was not successful:

"The aims of this project are extremely laudable - restoration of a native oyster fishery with protected food status and to protect/encourage new entrants into the one of the last remaining traditional sail and oar fishing fleets. The team are also clearly very passionate about making this work.

The application has however been incredibly difficult to assess in terms of value for money and the potential for successful completion. The links between this application, the EMFF bid, and a planned future SIF bid (challenges 8 and 9) need greater clarity.

Although the risks were outlined to some extent in the table on page 12, it was not clear what will happen if the EMFF bid fails. Can this SIF proposal still go ahead without the EMFF element, would that require a change in aims of this proposal and/or ****************, reduced sampling?

The table on page 19 also appears to indicate a shortfall of approximately ****. In the first column this is listed as 'to fund'. It would be helpful to clarify whether these funds also still need to be sort or are considered to be an in-kind contribution.

Should this SIF application be unsuccessful, re-submission is encouraged but maybe break the project into more manageable elements. For example, whilst challenges 8 and 9 can be alluded to, it should be clearly stated that these are not being considered as part of the application. Explicit links to the SIF objectives would also be beneficial."


"Oyster aquaculture is well understood and there is excellent availability of spat to purchase from both the UK and North France in various sizes for relying directly. This proposal doesn’t demonstrate a technical solution that is commercially sound. Once built it has to be run and there is little evidence that the fishery could support the operational costs long term. The costs associated with the size of hatchery are also disproportionate to the likely output making commercial viability even more challenging." 


"This project aims to develop new capabilities in growing local species that are getting lost. It will result in new technologies (e.g. **************) that could benefit a wide range of stakeholders. The applicants have assembled a strong team of experts in a wide-ranging project, which may be challenging to manage, but the team all contribute significantly to the work, demonstrating commitment that will de-risk this potential difficulty." 

"The technical aspects are described very well, although some particular solutions would have benefitted from more details (e.g. how to ********** ?). The risk analysis and financial preparations are thorough. The VAT risk is analysed and the team has the capability to manage it appropriately. 

Although the results could have benefits beyond the specifics of the application proposed here (as mentioned by the applicants), there are only limited measures put in place to maximise the dissemination."

I would appreciate if you could communicate the decision to all collaborators. 

Please be assured there has been a rigorous selection process for these applications, with each application being assessed by independent subject experts, followed by discussion at a full UK panel.

Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to provide any further details regarding your application. If you have any queries, please respond using the Delta procurement portal only, as the management team are unable to deal with queries outside of this system. 

Cefas would like to thank you for your interest in this procurement exercise and, whilst you have been unsuccessful on this occasion, hopes that this decision will not deter you from pursuing any future opportunities within Cefas.


Response to unsuccessful funding application
The Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC has been set up to address the problem that is effecting far greater impacts than just commercial viability. In 2020 it is important to address a Triple Bottom Line approach: Environmental (planet), Social (people) and Ecological (profit) in that order, with an adaptive management balance for each. 


Dear Seafood Innovation Fund,

                In addition to the response submitted on the 18th December 2019, where I explained the disappointment to find the application was ‘unsuccessful due to untrue assumptions’, I would like to follow up with some further clarifications and mitigations in the hope that a resubmission could be ‘reassessed’ without too much trouble.

The key to the application is to be ready to start a hatchery program in May 2020 when native oysters are naturally reproducing due to sea temperatures. So if the facts, clarifications and mitigations I have provided could be assessed within a similar timeframe to the original first round timeframe (September 12th – October 31st) of 6-8 weeks, it would be totally possible to start to build the hatchery in April ready for May.

“Appropriate solution to the problem”

I hope you can refer to the previously submitted response now the facts have been provided? I will also upload documents supporting the facts that I stated, but in summary ‘importing seed to a fishery’ has many risks, that’s if seed can be purchased given the number of native oyster restoration projects that are planned, with seven currently listed on the Native Oyster Network website already desperate. 

“Limited measures are in place to maximise the dissemination”
I truly believe each element will be well managed and monitored by MSc/PhD researchers from the various universities, this in turn will provide the universities with reoccurring placements for future studies and in turn this relationship will help build data that can be submitted to scientific journals and papers for many years to come. 
“Evidence for economic viability”
to be honest, many years ago I thought the most important thing that is lacking on the Fal Fishery was the availability of marketable/edible grade (80mm/80g) PDO Fal Oysters. Little did I know of the real importance of mature the 4-5 year olds for the long term benefits of the reproductive biomass and ecosystem services. While fishermen are paid £2.50-£4pkg, the fact is a kilo could comprise of 20 x 67mm/50g oysters that are simply sold to grow on in other fisheries for 12p-20p each, merchants can sell 10 x 100g processed PDO Fal Oysters for 80p-£2 each and London restaurants charge £5 or £6 each! 
“The technical risks are very high”
not at all when compared to the risk of indigenous native oysters not reproducing due to the sparse density (1 per 20sq metre), the risk of overfishing every last oyster just to fill a bucket, the risk of importing diseased seed and the risk of destroying any localised genetically strong and disease resistant stocks for a quick growth turn around.
“a) Value for money and b) the potential for successful completion”
a) the current value of the Fal Fishery first landing Native Oysters, based on £4pkg is just £140,000 (35tonnes in 2018 season) this is shared 'unevenly' between the 10-20 vessels/20-40 license holders that are currently fishing and
b) the SEAFISH current survival rate for larvae to 12 months old in the wild is 1/500,000 or 0.0002%. The project has very low expectations of just a 1% survival rate, however it is well understood in the USA that a 30%-60% survival rate can be achieved with hatchery born and nursery managed stocks.