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Displaying items by tag: Fisheries Local Action Groups

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has announced a new Brexit mitigation scheme to promote the blue economy and to be delivered through the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs).

Announcing the scheme in his opening address at the Irish Skipper Expo in Limerick today (Friday 25 March), Minister McConalogue said it is “designed to assist coastal communities to overcome the impacts of Brexit and grow and diversify their local economies by promoting the growth of the wider blue economy”.

He continued: “The Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme will have a €25 million budget for the years 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The scheme will offer grants of up to €200,000 for entrepreneurial initiatives by micro and small enterprises operating in the blue economy, within the 10km coastal remit of the seven FLAGs.

“Stimulating entrepreneurial activity in the blue economy will provide a post-Brexit stimulus to the economies of our coastal communities.

“The scheme will support capital investment projects and business mentoring and capacity development by enterprises engaged in the blue economy and also upskilling and training to support individuals to build on their existing skills and knowledge to develop new complementary skills that will enable them to exploit economic opportunities in the blue economy.”

Minister McConalogue also announced the implementation of a further recommendation of the Seafood Task Force: a Brexit Inshore Marketing Scheme designed to assist the inshore fisheries sector to mitigate the impacts of Brexit by growing value in existing markets and developing new markets.

“As part of this scheme, I have approved Bord Bia’s marketing plan for 2022 for inshore fisheries products and this will focus on supporting the sales and promotion of inshore species such as Irish crab, lobster, whelks, inshore herring/mackerel and line caught hake and pollock on both the domestic and export markets,” he said.

“The plan was developed by Bord Bia in consultation with industry stakeholders and the main inshore exporters and processors. The 2022 marketing plan will have a budget of €615,000.”

Continuation of both schemes after 2023 will be examined as part of the development of the forthcoming Seafood Development Programme, as recommended by the Seafood Task Force.

Further details will be available from Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

Published in Fishing

Local coastal community groups and micro enterprises will benefit among 62 grants worth more than €900,000 awarded by Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme (EMFF).

Announcing the grant awards totalling €915,295, Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue hailed the success of the FLAG scheme and said: “This is testament not just to the demand for such local development funding in our coastal communities but very much to the hard work of the local volunteers, many drawn from our seafood and wider marine sectors, who make up the boards of each of our seven FLAGs.”

The minister added: “I believe that the FLAG initiative has significant additional potential in the years ahead to further drive start-ups and the development of seafood and marine businesses in our coastal communities and can be a key element of our strategy in mitigating the impacts of Brexit on our coastal communities.”

Among the recipients in this final allocation are a festival to celebrate Bantry Bay botanist Ellen Hutchins and a feasibility study for renewable energy generation on Achill Island.

The FLAG scheme is now closed, having expended its full allocation, and the minister’s department says a process will be initiated as part of the preparation of the new Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 to appoint FLAGs for the next programme period from 2022.

FLAG Projects Total Investment Grant Awards
West 4 €82,704 €42,158
North West 16 €568,752 €272,959
North 10 €618,558 €306,347
North East 3 €56,534 €45,227
South East 4 €49,265 €38,236
South West 12 €247,334 €107,842
South 13 €193,729 €102,523
TOTAL 62 €1,816,879 €915,295

Details of the individual grant awards are set out below (applicant; project title; suppprt rate; total investment; grant aid):

FLAG West

  • Séamus O'Flatharta; Inis Oírr Glamping and Campsite; 40%; €17,460; €6,984
  • Oranmore Castle; Oranmore Castle Cultural Centre; 40%; €42,553; €17,021
  • Cuan Beo CLG Cuan Beo; Implementing a holistic approach to sustainability in Galway Bay 2020; 80%; €16,191; €12,953
  • Spiddal Craft & Design Centre; Online marketing campaign; 80%; €6,500; €5,200

FLAG North West

  • Ballyglass Crew; Ballyglass Crew Yachtmaster; 50%; €5,300; €2,650
  • Eachtrai UISCE Teoranta T/A UISCE; Training application; 50%; €21,741; €10,870
  • Sligo Rowing Club Co Ltd; Purchase of safety launch boat; 80%; €9,185; €7,348
  • Bellacragher Boat Club; Printing of Claggan Ferry maps, drop-down banners, social media promotion, signs and provision of two RIB shore trailers; 60%; €15,539; €9,323
  • Todhchaí Phobail Acla; To assess the feasibility of Achill Island becoming a community owned electricity and hydrogen producer through wind power; 80%; €24,280; €19,424
  • Ballycroy Community Council Ltd; Ballycroy Greenway Desktop feasibility with potential design works; 80%; €15,000; €12,000
  • Mayo County Council; Feasibility study on the construction of a slipway on Clare Island; 60%; €25,000; €15,000
  • Mayo County Council; Westport Lido (outdoor swimming pool - tidal); 50%; €24,944; €12,500
  • The Lost Valley; Support coastal heritage and tourism by improvements to access route; 40%; €99,518; €39,807
  • Rosses Point Development Association CLG & Sligo County Council; Feasibility Study for Sligo Community Boat Park; 25%; €193,860; €48,465
  • Belderrig Dev Committee Ltd; Restoration of road to carpark at Belderrig Harbour; 50%; €41,841; €20,920
  • Tullaghan Development Association; Developing marine tourism for Co Leitrim; 80%; €1,861; €1,489
  • St Colman's Care Centre CLG; St Colman's Care Centre - upgrade existing facilities and equipment; 80%; €56,515; €45,212
  • River Moy Search and Rescue Ballina CLG; Water conservation in the Moy Catchment area; 80%; €6,096; €4,877
  • Leitrim County Council; Feasibility study - Exploring sea access at Leitrim consultation scoping document - Wild Atlantic Way; 100%; €3,075; €3,075
  • Neart Acla CTR; Achill Traditional Currach Project; 80%; €24,996; €19,996

FLAG North

  • Iontaobhas Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair; Rochtain do chathaoireacha rothaí, ráillí láimhe agus balla carrchlóis; 80%; €44,000; €35,200
  • Glenties Community Playgroup Limited; To develop a creative and imaginative outdoor environment which will be designed to a nautical pirate theme; 80%; €39,500; €31,600
  • Ardara Artists Resource Centre; Renovate existing building in Ardara to enable it to be used by the community; 80%; €48,750; €39,000
  • St Catherine’s Vocational School; Learning in area of cultural, arts, marine; 80%; €49,455; €39,564
  • Donegal County Council; Provision of scenic viewing points and improved tourism access at Melmore, Downings, Donegal; 60%; €52,300, €31,380.00
  • 18th Donegal Moville Port Sea Scouts; RYA Level 1 & 2 Power Boat, RYA Foundation Safety Rescue Training, RYA Sail Training; 51% €4,800; €2,448
  • Cara Na nOilean Teo; Modernisation of ferry Coll; 32%; €96,087; €30,747.84
  • Mullinasole Bay Water Sports Club; Mullinasole Bay Access Regeneration Phase 1; 51%; €63,400; €32,334
  • KT Nets; Upgrade of facilities at KT Nets; 32%; €128,666; €41,173.12
  • Teach Bhillie; Síneadh agus uasghradú le foirgneach Theach Bhillie; 25%; €91,600; €22,900

FLAG North East

  • Baldoyle Forum CLG; Baldoyle Community Hall Development Feasibility Study; 80%; €10,000; €8,000
  • Rush Tourism; Pirate sculpture for Rush; 80%; €11,604; €9,283
  • Skerries Rowing Club; Design team fees for Skerries Rowing Club boathouse; 80%; €34,930; €27,944

FLAG South East

  • Ladies Cove Community Coastal Project; Improvement works to Ladies Cove; 80%; €30,687; €24,549
  • Bannow Historical Society; Training in maritime heritage preservation and celebration; 80%; €12,728; €10,182
  • Passage East Hurling Club; Beat the Ferryman Swim; 60%; €1,670; €1,000
  • Hook Rural Tourism Ltd; Hike to the Hook 2020 and social media development; 60%; €4,180; €2,504

FLAG South West

  • Valentia Island Way; Cookery school and demonstration kitchen; 37%; €21,657; €7,997
  • Irish Coastal Rowing Federation; All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships 2021; 80%; €20,548; €16,438
  • Dingle Sea Safari Limited; Passenger vessel; 50%; €50,460; €25,000
  • Patrick Browne; Supply of local markets with fish from boat to table directly from MFV Ocean Dawn; 50%; €5,340; €2,670
  • Badoiri an Bhlascaoid Teoranta; Self-drive hire boats; 25%; €44,142; €11,035
  • Kerry Aqua Terra Limited; Boat, equipment and crew protection from elements; 50%; €4,950; €2,475
  • The Dingle Way Coastal Trail; Cultural marine information boards and seating areas; 80%; €12,196; €9,757
  • Valentia Rowing Club; One design rowing racing boat and oars, traditional four-oar boat trailer and launching trolley; 77%; €6,500; €5,000
  • Irish Elasmobranch Group; Underwater survey drone; 80%; €8,480; €6,784
  • Blascaoid Mór Teoranta; Equipment boat package; 25%; €23,163; €5,790
  • Dingle Harbour Boat Hire; Purchase of equipment and boats; 28%; €47,894; €13,293
  • Éigse na Brídeoige; Éigse Online: a series of performances, talks, seminars and interviews on the song tradition of Kerry; 80%; €2,000; €1,600

FLAG South

  • Cumann Na Daoine; Building community resilience and understanding of climate change as it will impact very directly on coastal communities; 80%; €6,751; €5,401
  • Ellen Hutchins Festival; She Gathered Seaweed on the Seashore: Celebrating the Botany of Bantry Bay; 62%; €3,250; €2,000
  • Ard na Gaoithe; Support to sustain and diversify Ard na Gaoithe B&B and Cape Clear Foodie Stall; 40%; €2,562; €1,024
  • Roaring Water Marine; Equipment to expand business; 50%; €1,719; €859
  • Bantry Bay Boat Hire Limited; New kayaks, equipment and boat engine; 50%; €9,325; €4,662
  • Roaring Water Sea Vegetable Company Limited; Processing unit; 50%; €17,490; €8,745
  • Schull Regatta; Schull Regatta 2021; 40%; €4,821; €2,000
  • Galley Flash Rowing Club; Maximising equipment resources 2021 Sculling Oars; 80%; €1,060; €848
  • Skibbereen Rowing Club; Safety launch; 80%; €8,275; €6,620
  • ZT Fish Company Limited; Mobile retail unit; 50%; €23,495; €11,747
  • Travara Shellfish Limited; Infrastructure and equipment; 50%; €23,827; €11,913
  • Myross Rowing Club Company Limited; Club fleet upgrade; 65%; €7,750; €5,000
  • Allihies Seafood Limited; Developing a sustainable micro-algae cultivation and processing facility; 50%; €83,401; €41,700
Published in Coastal Notes

The home of this week's Olympic Gold medallist scullers, Skibbereen Rowing Club in West Cork, is one of 62 coastal community groups that has received funding today by Fisheries Local Action Groups under the Department’s EMFF Programme.

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D announced the grants worth €915,295 by the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups.

The home club of Olympic champions Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan was awarded €6,620 under the scheme for a new safety boat. Neighbouring Schull Regatta in West Cork was awarded €2,000 for its 2021 Regatta.

In the border region, Rosses Point Development Association CLG & Sligo County Council received €48,465 for a feasibility study for Sligo Community Boat Park. Sligo Rowing Club Co Ltd also received a grant to purchase a safety launch boat of €7,348.

The grants are awarded to mostly local community groups and micro-enterprises. The grants are co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union. 

2021 FLAG grant awards2021 FLAG grant awards

Announcing the grant awards, Minister McConalogue said: “The FLAG Scheme under my Department’s EMFF Seafood Development Programme has been a huge success.  With the grant awards I am announcing today, the seven FLAGs have successfully dispersed their full €12 million allocations under my Department’s EMFF Programme.  

In other marine leisure related grants announced as part of the FLAG scheme,  Valentia Rowing Club in County Kerry was awarded €5,000 towards a one design rowing racing boat & oars, a traditional 4 oar boat trailer & launching trolley.

Ballyglass Crew received €2,650 for its Ballyglass Crew Yachtmaster project. 

The Irish Coastal Rowing Federation was grant-aided €16,438 for the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships 2021

The FLAG Scheme has been operating since just 2017, following a short pilot in the previous programme and has gone from strength to strength.  This is a testament not just to the demand for such local development funding in our coastal communities but very much to the hard work of the local volunteers, many drawn from our seafood and wider marine sectors, who make up the boards of each of our seven FLAGs”. 

Minister McConalogue added: “I believe that the FLAG initiative has significant additional potential in the years ahead to drive further start-ups and the development of seafood and marine businesses in our coastal communities and can be a key element of our strategy in mitigating the impacts of Brexit on our coastal communities”.

The FLAG scheme is now closed, having expended its full allocation. A process will be initiated as part of preparing the new Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 to appoint FLAGs for the next programme period. 

The new FLAGs will be operational in 2022. To see each of the 62 individual awards click here

Published in News Update

Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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