The Scheme, the largest of its kind ever, will have a €25 million budget available for the years 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
The Scheme will be delivered through the existing Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs). The Fisheries Local Action Groups uniquely focus local development funding specifically for areas within 10kms of the sea around the entire coast, precisely the communities that are most impacted by Brexit.
The Scheme is one of the recommendations of the Seafood Sector Taskforce, established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. in March 2021 to mitigate against the impacts of Brexit on the wider Irish seafood industry and coastal communities.
Welcoming today’s announcement the Minister Charlie McConalogue said:
“The blue economy is the beating heart of Ireland’s rural coastal communities. This new Scheme is designed to help strengthen and rejuvenate those communities by giving businesses an opportunity to apply for funding for their blue economy activities in areas including seafood, coastal tourism, boat building and maintenance, marine recreation, and renewable energy initiatives.”
Stimulating entrepreneurial activity, providing mentoring to help businesses adapt and find new opportunities and helping people train or retrain to allow them to keep and use their marine skills within the blue economy will enhance the profitability and economic viability of these community’s post Brexit. Grants of up to €200,000 are available and can be used to cover capital investment projects, along with mentoring and training.
In Ireland, 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast and many communities along the Irish coast depend on industries including tourism, fishing and aquaculture. Launching the Scheme Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM, referred to the unique identity of Ireland’s coastal communities and how this latest scheme will help to stimulate already established businesses, and new business ideas, in these communities.