IRELAND’S fisheries minister Simon Coveney today launched a new €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Seafood Development Programme for the period up to 2020 and beyond, following approval of the scheme in December.
Announcing the programme in Dublin, Coveney said it ‘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.’
He launched the first suite of eight schemes to implement the new programme, saying: ‘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 €16 million 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 €28.8 million will be invested under the programme.
‘A targeted inshore fisheries conservation scheme is also being launched and €6 million will be invested in this sector under the programme.
‘A Fisheries Local Development Scheme, involving €12 million 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, €24 million will be invested in the processing sector under the programme.
‘This government is fully commitment to the seafood sector and the coastal communities who are dependent on fisheries and aquaculture.’