The scheme was introduced in March 2014 to help alleviate hardship experienced by fishermen following prolonged, adverse weather conditions.
The Minister said: "In March I received representations from the fishing industry about the operational difficulties being experienced because of a prolonged period of severe weather and agreed a number of measures to help our local fishing fleet. The first of these measures was to provide emergency aid as many fishermen were suffering financial hardship because their pay was based on a share of a vessel’s profits."
Minister O’Neill continued: "Working closely with my Executive colleagues I was able to secure the necessary approvals and funding, and my Department made regulations, and put in place arrangements to allow payments for a hardship scheme. The first payments were released to the industry in early April. The scheme is now closed with £473,750 paid which has benefitted the owners and crew of 203 fishing vessels."