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Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) from across Europe will be meeting in Bantry next month to discuss “smart” ways to tackle coastal challenges.

The Smart Coastal Areas seminar, hosted by FLAG South and Bord Iascaigh Mhara at the Westlodge Hotel from Tuesday 2 to Thursday 4 April, aims to provide ideas and guidance on ‘smart’ development — including activities, development models and ways of working to boost the fisheries industry and coastal regions in an innovative way.

In 2017, the GDP of the Irish seafood sector was estimated at €1.15 billion. More than 14,000 people are employed in Ireland’s seafood sector, many of whom work and live in rural coastal communities.

Fisheries and coastal areas are impacted by factors such as depopulation, ageing population, climate change and economic decline.

The EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) was set up to support initiatives by local fisheries communities through Community-Led Local Development (CLLD). FLAGs can use this money to implement projects that support sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture production, and coastal communities.

However, funding is not the only answer, as creativity and strategic action is also needed.

The Smart Coastal Areas seminar will highlight:

  • Smart partnerships (creating win-win situations between different interest groups)
  • Smart resource use (optimising local resources and production systems)
  • Smart financing (reaching small-scale beneficiaries: micro-credit, etc)
  • Smart services (adapting services to ensure their viability: smart harbours, connecting remote areas, etc)

The seminar will include presentations on FLAG projects in EU countries that demonstrate smart approaches to rural sustainability and development. Local examples from the Cork coast are Courtmacsherry Community Shop and Schull Bait Bins, both supported by Ireland’s FLAG South.

Also included with the seminar will be a field visit to local fisheries-related businesses as well as Whiddy Island to view the progress of a tourism-related project.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed has announced €12 million funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) to fund local development initiatives in Ireland’s coastal communities.

The seven new groups – South West (Kerry), West (Galway, Clare), Northwest (Mayo, Sligo), North (Donegal), South (Cork), Northeast (Louth, Meath, Dublin) and Southeast (Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford) – were selected as part of a competitive process under the community led local development element of the €240 million EMFF Operational Programme.

Each FLAG received a sum between €1.5 million and €1.98 million in funding that is 50% financed by the EU.

“This funding will be allocated by and to those communities by the seven FLAGs recently established,” said the minister. “The FLAGs are made up of local actors from the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and others with a strong interest in fostering the development of our coastal communities.

“The funding will be available to the FLAGs over the period 2017 to 2021 approximately and is an eight-fold increase on the €1.5m that was available under the previous FLAG scheme.”

Bord Iascaigh Mhara chief executive Tara McCarthy added: “As the State agency responsible for providing a range of administrative and technical supports to the FLAGs, we welcome the significant increase in funding for a programme that has already contributed €1.5 million in direct and indirect investment to our coastal communities.

“Each of the FLAG groups represents 7 coastal communities where the importance of the Irish Seafood Sector from our fishermen to seafood processors and retailers is paramount. This increase in funding will enable BIM to assist the FLAG groups to develop strategic plans that will enhance and in some cases diversify their existing marine related resource and enterprise.

“On behalf of BIM, I would like to thank all of the FLAG members for their dedication to this programme.”

FLAG Name Coastal areas of County EMFF Allocation
South West FLAG Kerry €1.53 m
West FLAG Galway, Clare €1.80 m
Northwest FLAG Mayo, Sligo €1.50 m
North FLAG Donegal €1.95 m
South FLAG Cork €1.98 m
Northeast FLAG Louth, Meath, Dublin €1.56 m
Southeast FLAG Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford €1.68 m
  TOTAL €12 m
Published in Fishing

The giant Irish flag 'stolen' from its prominent position on Dun Laoghaire's East pier has been recovered.

The tricolour went missing last night from the flag pole at 7pm. 

Afloat.ie sources tell us that it is now back with its rightful owners and the hope is that it will be flying from the pier head again soon.

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