Darren McClements, shows DAERA Minister Edwin Poots a fresh catch of prawns. Thanks to funding from the Department as part of a pilot scheme, Darren has purchased innovative on-board equipment for handling his catch on his boat named ‘The Golden Ray’.
Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots MLA has launched a grants support scheme for local fishing businesses worth £1.9 million.
The Maritime and Fisheries Fund for Northern Ireland replaces the now fully committed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Financial support totalling £1.9million for fishing and aquaculture stakeholders is available up to 31 March 2022. The new funding is designed to deliver benefits to fishermen, processing and aquaculture businesses, port authorities, inland fishers and stakeholders with environmental interests.
Announcing the opening of the Scheme during a visit to Portavogie harbour, Minister Poots said: “I am pleased to announce the opening of the £1.9m Maritime and Fisheries Fund (Northern Ireland) with immediate effect. As the funding has been provided by HM Treasury as a ‘one-year settlement’ only, I would encourage stakeholders to engage with my Department promptly in order that applications can be submitted as soon as possible as this funding must be utilised by 31 March 2022.
“During my visit to Portavogie harbour I have seen the benefits of such schemes to our local fishermen and businesses, such as investing in new machinery and infrastructure, which in turn enables them to continue to remain competitive within the industry during these challenging times.”
Speaking about the future of the local fishing industry, Minister Poots added: “My Department will be delivering this Scheme in tandem with the development of a five year strategy for future fisheries support from April 2022 onwards which will be reflective of the current focus on sustainability, green growth, blue economy, resilience and adapting to the post-Brexit landscape.”
The 2021/22 support is similar to the previous EMFF funding programme in terms of making applications and aims to support safer fishing initiatives, investments on board fishing vessels, innovative projects and processes, marketing initiatives and research; more selective fishing gear and practices, and ports infrastructure developments as well investment by fish processors and aquaculture operations.