FISHING, aquaculture and seafood processing companies in England are being urged to take advantage of a 243 million euro (around £186 million) European Maritime Fisheries Fund which has just been opened.
The Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO) says the scheme will bring much needed benefits to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as well as coastal communities.
Key areas of focus for the funding are to help the fishing industry adapt to the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and to support the competitiveness of the sector.
Applications for funding are initially sought for: support with elements of CFP reform, improving health and safety on vessels, enhancing the quality or value of catch, investing in port and harbour infrastructure such as ports/auction halls/shelters, the processing of seafood and aquaculture products and general investments in aquaculture.
The MMO has also started the process of selecting Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) for England to help fisheries communities adapt to the reformed CFP and to support sustainable economic growth.
The scheme will open for other measures later this year but these initial areas cover over €33 million of EMFF funding which is being made available.
MMO chief executive John Tuckett said: ‘The scheme provides significant opportunities for hard working fishermen, associated businesses and the wider marine sector to gain much needed funding to assist and benefit their important work and activities.
‘We have made significant efforts to ensure support is in place for scheme users, including a new e-application system, redesigned website and dedicated customer helplines.
‘I therefore urge everyone to visit our website, look at the funds and funding types available and submit an EMFF application at the earliest opportunity.’