Available to industry during 2013, the funding covers a range of 150 environmental and conservation initiatives, quality schemes as well as local employment and coastal community support programmes.
In excess of 1,000 boats are set to receive grant-aid under these schemes. Each scheme aims to further develop Ireland’s environmentally responsible fisheries sector where sustainable employment will be based on the strategic management of the valuable marine resource.
All of the funding will be spent in the local economy and will administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 and the European Fisheries Fund.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Coveney said: “I am delighted to announce funding for a sector that underpins the current and future success of Ireland’s seafood industry nationally and globally. This funding underlines the Government’s commitment to our fisheries at a time when the generation of ocean wealth will be a key driver in Ireland’s economic recovery. The Irish seafood sector is currently worth €822 million to the economy, employs approximately 11,000 people and is showing phenomenal growth on the export market with sales up 18% on 2011 to €493 million in 2012."
“We will continue to build on such successes and enhance our sustainability credentials through the implementation of the funded programmes announced today such as the Marine Environment Protection Measure (MEPS) and the Socio Economic and Education Development Scheme (SEEDS). The launch of these schemes in a year when the Government is aiming to increase seafood value-added by €50 million will be critical to the ongoing roll-out of Food Harvest 2020.”
Commenting for BIM, Jason Whooley, CEO said: “BIM would like to acknowledge the very significant funding announced today by Minister Coveney. Though most welcome, Government investment on its own is not sufficient to guarantee success for today’s outlined funding. Every stakeholder in the fisheries sector must contribute to Ireland’s development of an integrated marine plan that will further enhance our global competitiveness for being a source of high quality, sustainably produced seafood. BIM will ably administer this fundingI know that there is a lot of interest in these schemes and I anticipate industry take-up for the schemes will be strong. BIM looks forward to working with the industry on these schemes.”