The first applications call for funding available to the country’s seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (Flags) has been made.
It was announced by Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Michael Creed when he launched Local Development Strategies for the Flags. These were established under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) operational programme.
The Flags initiative is similar to Leader under the Rural Development Programme, but focuses funding specifically on coastal fisheries and aquaculture areas.
Mr Creed said the strategies will promote and support innovative projects in the Flag regions that foster economic growth and jobs. This aim can be achieved by adding value to seafood products and diversifying the local economies of these coastal areas towards new economic activities, particularly in the broader maritime sector.
He said the strategies, developed by the Flags last year, are the culmination of much analysis and consultation on the needs of their coastal regions and their potential opportunities for growth and development.
Mr Creed said the Flag boards are now inviting applications within their regions to fund projects that contribute to the objectives of their Local Development Strategy.
“I’ve made available €2.4m to Bord Iascaigh Mhara in 2017, and this will be dispersed in full to the projects selected by the Flags in 2017 for support,” said Mr Creed. “Overall, €12m will be available over the course of the EMFF programme.”
The EMFF operational programme, launched in January 2016, provides €240m in funding to the seafood sector (fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood processing) over the period 2014 to 2020. It is co-funded by the Exchequer and the European Unon.
Mr Creed announced the following EMFF allocations to the seven FLAGS last November: Cork €1.98m; Donegal €1.95m; Galway-Clare €1.80; Wicklow-Wexford-Waterford €1.68m, Louth-Meath-Dublin €1.56m; Kerry €1.53m, and Mayo-Sligo €1.5m.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara assists Flags to deliver this programme through administering supports via grant-aid, training and on the ground facilitation, with dedicated co-ordinators in each region. The Flag boards consider all applications for support and select projects for funding.
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