New Aid Scheme for East Neuk Fishermen –

New Aid Scheme for East Neuk Fishermen Published:  25 August, 2008

Fife Council may introduce a fund to aid the region’s fishing industry to replace a financial scheme previously spearheaded by the Scottish Enterprise in Fife.

Fife Council may introduce a fund to aid the region’s fishing industry to replace a financial scheme previously spearheaded by the Scottish Enterprise in Fife.

The council says support for the fishing sector is key to the local economy and sustaining economic growth in the East Neuk of Fife.

The environment enterprise and transportation committee are to consider a report shortly which focuses on a fund previously made available to the fishing sector in fife and updates members on efforts to establish a replacement.

In 2005, SE Fife launched a £50,000 fund to support the Fife fishing industry until this year, administered by the Fishermen’s Mutual Association (Pittenweem) Ltd to provide funds to improve and maintain the inshore fleet and for crew training.

Criteria for applications were determined by SE Fife and the association, the later recommending approval or rejection of grant applications. Grants were about 30% of the total amount.

In a report to councillors, development services head Keith Winter said no evaluation of the effects and outcomes of the former scheme was done, but 10 boats were assisted and 14 awards were made in total. The fund is now exhausted and no finance has been transferred from Scottish Enterprise for its continuation.

Mr Winter said the council is considering a replacement fund to support the local fishing sector. Its £3.5 million a year turnover is vital to the local economy and it employs around 200.

The council will need extra resources for a new scheme, to be sought from the new European Fisheries Fund. An application can be made for £25,000 to be matched by a similar sum from the council sources that would enable a fife Fisheries Fund of £50,000 to be offered for 2008-2011.

Mr Winter added ” Such a combined fund would satisfy the requirements of the European Fisheries Fund that seek other public sector grants to match those from the European fund. The support of the fishing sector is key to the local economy. The lack of financial support may effect the sustainability of some businesses, leading to the demise of the fishing sector, effecting the number of jobs and businesses in place”.

He said if an application for EU funding was successful, the council would ask Business Gateway to administer applications , with the fishermen’s association acting as agents for individual skippers,

“This would enable a consistent approach for the businesses in the local fishing sector. As occurred with the former fund, the association would act as the first point of advice and information for the fund. Eligibility criteria for the financial support will be established and suitability for funding will determined at this stage”.

Business Gateway has agreed to the process and it is anticipated a similar number of awards would be made from a new fund compared to the former fund. The fund would be monitored on the number of jobs created or safeguarded per pound spent.

Mr winter added ” It should be recognised that the local fishing sector is unlikely to create any new jobs in the short term but the fund can enable fishing businesses to become more sustainable, thus helping safeguard local jobs”.

The report points out that the proposed fund would be at risk if the application to the European Fisheries Fund is not supported. In this case Fife Council would not be able to resource a fund of sufficient size to meet anticipated demand.

Recommending approval Mr winter is asking councillors to support an application to the European fisheries Fund for £25,000 which, if successful, could be used to establish a new Fife Fisheries Fund. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.