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€240m seafood development programme launched

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Eight schemes to commence implementation of Ireland’s new €240m EMFF Seafood Development Programme have been launched.

The schemes are for the period up to 2020 and beyond, co-funded by the Exchequer and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. They were launched by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney. 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 six 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 six 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 €67m in total support to the sea fishing sector through this programme and €45m 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.

“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 €36m in 2016 to my department and a range of implementing agencies to begin implementing the new Seafood Development Programme. I have provided BIM with €22m in 2016 to implement these eight 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.”

Tags: Simon Coveney fisheries