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Funding Boost For Small Scale Coastal Fishing Sector

Education & academia

UK - Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew has announced further grant funding opportunities for the Small Scale Coastal Fishing Sector through Axis 1 of the European Fisheries Fund.

Making her announcement, the Minister said: "I can confirm that my Department can now offer up to 60 per cent grant funding to vessels within the Small Scale Coastal sector through the £2million Investment On Board and Selectivity Measure of the European Fisheries Fund. This level of grant support is designed to address key areas identified by the sector in the 2009 survey of the fleet’s modernisation needs and includes support for projects that focus on, among other things, safety, quality, energy efficiency, technology and working conditions.

"Given the increasing significance of the small-scale coastal fishing sector along our coastline, I can also advise that a further EFF Measure 'Small Scale Coastal Fishing', has today also opened for applications. This measure aims to improve the economic performance and management of small scale coastal fisheries and will contribute to a healthy marine environment."

The Minister added: "Funding of £600,000 is available for projects under this Measure and 100 per cent grant support may be available for projects that meet the aims of the Measure. These include: improving the management and control of access conditions; promoting the organisation of the production, processing and marketing chain of the sector; and encouraging voluntary steps to reduce fishing effort. The use of technological innovations; and, improving professional skills and safety training will also be encouraged.

"I would encourage any fisheries business which qualify to seriously consider what this funding could offer them to improve their competitiveness."

The Minister also confirmed that the Department was progressing its business case for restructuring the local fleet.

She stressed that any future scheme to decommission vessels depended on securing approval to the proposals from DFP and the European Commission and having an approved budget in place. She said: "Subject to gaining the necessary approvals I would expect the scheme to begin at the end of the summer."

In conclusion the Minister said: "The funding which I have announced today, coming against the background of the current economic climate and budget contraints will provide a welcome boost to smaller scale fisheries businesses."