The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today launched eight schemes to commence implementation of Ireland’s new €240 million EMFF Seafood Development Programme for the period up to 2020 and beyond, co-funded by the Exchequer and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. This announcement follows approval of the Programme in December by Government and the European Commission.
Announcing the launch of the Programme at the Government Press Centre in Dublin, Minister Coveney said “This new Operational Programme more than doubles the amount of development funding for our seafood sector and will be the source of development funding for Ireland’s seafood sector for at least the next 6 years to 2021. It will be the tool to implement the new Common Fisheries Policy, to deliver on FoodWise 2025 for the seafood sector and to deliver the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development.”
Minister Coveney launched the first suite of eight schemes to implement the new Programme, saying “I am delighted to announce today an integrated range of new schemes to drive the development of the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors over the next 6 years. Perhaps the most important thing this new Seafood Development Programme will do in the years ahead is to strengthen our seafood sector and support the implementation of the new CFP, and in particular the landing obligation, thereby ensuring the future of our industry. I am allocating €67 million in total support to the sea fishing sector through this Programme and €45 million of this will go towards implementing the CFP. A key element of that will be a new €16m Sustainable Fisheries Scheme which I am announcing today. This new scheme will support the fishing fleet in making the adjustments necessary to reduce, to the maximum extent possible, unwanted catch or undersized fish and to make new investments on board the vessels and on shore to assist the industry in moving to a more sustainable and secure future.”
Minister Coveney said “today’s announcement sees two schemes being launched for the Aquaculture sector where €28.8m will be invested under the programme, a targeted inshore fisheries conservation scheme is also being launched and €6m will be invested in this sector under the programme. A Fisheries Local Development Scheme, involving €12m investment over the Programme, is being launched to support local development initiatives in coastal communities. Finally, a further three schemes are launched today to drive forward the development of the seafood processing sector so as to ensure maximum employment is created and value captured from the fish landed or produced in Ireland. In total €24m will be invested in the processing sector under the Programme”.
Minister Coveney added: “This Government is fully commitment to the seafood sector and the coastal communities who are dependent on fisheries and aquaculture. I have provided almost €36 million in 2016 to my Department and a range of implementing agencies to begin implementing the new Seafood Development Programme. I have provided BIM with €22 million in 2016 to implement these 8 and other new schemes that will be announced over the coming weeks including a scheme supporting Producer Organisations to prepare and administer Production and Marketing Plans. This scheme and other EMFF schemes with preferential rates available for Producer Organisations will facilitate the Producer Organisations in fulfilling their central role in the CFP reform process. Further schemes will be introduced over the coming months”
Note for Editors
Schemes launched today included the following:
Sustainable Fisheries Scheme (€16 million)
The scheme will support investment in encouraging new practices that lead to reduced catches of juvenile and/or over quota species with the ultimate aim of improved fisheries sustainability. Where unwanted fish are caught and must be landed, this scheme will provide generous supports to assist the wider fishing sector to handle it, including any necessary infrastructure, facilities or equipment in fishing ports.
Inshore Fisheries Conservation Scheme (€6 million)
The first element of this new Scheme is a specific initiative providing up to 75% of market price for lobsters which are v-notched and returned alive to the sea to contribute to maintaining the lobster stock. A further initiative under this scheme will follow in the coming weeks.
Fisheries Local Development Scheme (€12 Million)
Expressions of interest from local groups will be sought to establish new Fisheries Local Action Groups and prepare local develop strategies to identify economic development needs and opportunities in their fishing communities and in turn provide financial supports to local actors to develop business opportunities and infrastructure to deliver on that potential.
Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme (€20.6 million)
This Scheme will support investment to promote the sustainable growth of output, value and employment in the aquaculture sector. Supports will be focussed on increasing the productive output of aquaculture enterprises, new aquaculture enterprises entering the sector, scaling up of aquaculture enterprises to improve their competitiveness and efficiency and diversification into new species and methods. The Scheme will also encourage organic production and will provide assistance to enterprises significantly affected by naturally occurring biotoxin events.
Knowledge Gateway Scheme – aquaculture (€8.2 million)
This new Scheme will support applied research, new species development and commercialisation, research into managing diseases and parasites, the provision of environmental and business planning advice, and training for the aquaculture sector.
Seafood Capital Investment Scheme (€13 million)
This Scheme will support capital investment by seafood processing enterprises to develop an added value processing sector which is competitive and sustainable. Supports will be focussed on capital investments which reduce energy costs, improve safety, health, hygiene and traceability and also add value through processing, presentation and packaging.
Seafood Innovation and Business Planning (€7 million)
The Scheme will support investment to enable entrepreneurs and seafood companies to innovate and grow businesses; to build capability in the sector through improved leadership, and management & business planning practices. Supports will be focussed on new product and technology development, R&D and Business Planning.
Seafood Scaling and New Market Development (€4 million)
The Scheme will support investment to promote scale and collaboration in the sector and to fund projects which address key sector issues. Supports will be focussed on Industry collaboration forums, Joint Ventures between companies, producers and processors and projects which address common sector issues.