Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD met representatives of the seven new Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty today. €12m is available to the FLAGS under Ireland’s Operational Programme for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Each FLAG will now receive technical support to prepare a Local Development Strategy, in consultation with local communities, setting out the FLAG priorities for development and support in their area.
Minister Creed said, “I am pleased to announce the commencement of this Community-Led Local Development Process. Job creation and Rural Development are key priorities for this Government. The success of the FLAGs under the previous Programme shows that Fisheries and Aquaculture communities can identify priorities to target investment best suited to their area’s needs and I am enthusiastic about the opportunities which will emerge from these 7 new
Commenting on the success of the programme to date, Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency said, ‘Over the period 2012-2015, more than 180 projects were awarded grants of just under €1m. This initial funding has supported a wide range of initiatives targeting job creation, social inclusion, tourism, community regeneration and market development around our coastline. This first phase of the FLAGS initiative has already resulted in 14 new businesses being created, 16 jobs being safeguarded and 27 new jobs being created’.
Co- funded by the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund and the Exchequer as part of Ireland’s €241m EMFF Operational Programme, the initiative is focused on community-led development to enhance the economic opportunities and social sustainability of Fisheries and Aquaculture dependent areas. The process will see consultation take place in each of the seven FLAG areas to contribute to a Local Development Strategy to support job creation, adding value, promoting innovation as well as enhancing environmental assets and promoting each area’s maritime cultural heritage.
Under the previous Seafood Development Programme which ran until 2015, FLAGs were established for the first time in 2012. Over 180 projects were awarded grants of just under €1m and saw a wide range of initiatives targeting job creation, social inclusion, tourism, regeneration and market development supported around the coastline.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is the implementation partner working directly with the FLAG groups to assist them to establish and develop their own Local Development Strategies. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine oversees the programme and EMFF/Exchequer funding aspects.