Projects costing around 1,000 or more may qualify for around 40 per cent funding (or more) through the EFF. However, you must apply to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) before any work is carried out.
Funding is available for non-mandatory safety equipment such as safety rails and flotation devices which will increase the safety of fishing crews when at sea. It may also be possible to receive funding for projects that will lead to more sustainable fishing and improved working conditions.
Over 1 million of European Fisheries Fund money has been awarded to fishermen for vessel modernisation projects but further funding is still available. The money needs to be applied for and committed before December 2013 although projects can continue after this date.
One fisherman to have benefited is Mr Anthony Hendy in Cornwall. He received over 1000 for a life raft and new fuel tanks which improved onboard safety as well as the ability to help other vessels if needed. He has also recently been awarded funding of over 1000 for a project to install new windows for the vessels wheelhouse which will enhance safety and working conditions by improving visibility and insulation. Work will begin later this year.
He said: Without the EFF I wouldnt have been able to modernise my vessel. I also feel safer at sea knowing I have a life raft on board.
Not having to handle fuel cans every day has improved my working conditions and saved me time. Having the extra fuel on board also means I am available to help other vessels that are in trouble if needed.
I would encourage other fishermen to apply for EFF money. I had no problems and found the application process straightforward. On both occasions staff at the MMO coastal office in Penzance were on hand to answer questions and check my forms.
It is very important that fishermen contact the EFF team before any project is started. EFF England Programme Manager, Catherine Murphy, explains: The level of funding available depends on individual circumstances, however people could save a significant proportion of the money they are going to spend and we really dont want them to miss out.
I would encourage anyone whos thinking about making improvements on their vessel to call us as soon as possible to discuss their ideas. It may be that we discover they qualify for other funding too.
We cant support work thats already been carried out, or items that have already been purchased so its really important people speak to us before committing to anything.
The minimum award for funding is 500, therefore to qualify projects must cost at least 1,000, depending on the size of vessel and type of fishing activity carried out. It is possible to combine the safety equipment with other vessel investments to make the application reach this amount.
Alternatively, fishermens associations and producers organisations can apply for funding for several items to be shared out among the group.
Some of the safety improvements previously funded through EFF in England include:
- A portable salvage pump to be used in case of flooding. This was bought by a vessel owner with 600 provided through EFF.
- Non-slip deck work on a vessel. 660 was provided through EFF.
- Installing a self-shooting door on a vessel. This reduced the risk of accidents caused by coiled ropes and stacked pots on the deck area. 3,000 was provided through EFF.
- Purchasing and installing a new generator to provide additional power for safety working lights. 5,080 was provided through EFF.
Engine replacements can also be considered which can reduce costs and increase energy efficiency. Improvements to hygiene, such as refrigeration equipment and ice makers could also receive funding
For more information on funding go to www.marinemanagement.org.uk/fisheries/funding/eff.htm or call 0300 123 1032 as soon as possible.