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Fisheries Local Action Group Programme Invites Funding Applications for 2018

Following an extensive and highly successful Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) programme last year; the FLAG Boards and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) are now inviting parties in each of the FLAG areas to submit applications for funding under the 2018 programme.

The seven FLAG regions can avail of funding from BIM under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014 -2020, co-funded by the European Union and Irish Government. The aim of the programme is to assist community led strategy development in fishing and aquaculture dependant coastal communities to support growth and additional revenue opportunities.

Last year, FLAG Boards approved 190 projects resulting in the delivery of over €3 million in total investment to the seven FLAG regions. Projects funded included seafood enterprises, community initiatives, marine tourism, training and infrastructure improvements.

FLAG South funded a diverse range of projects in 2017 ranging from seafood enterprises including Fresh Fish Deli Ltd and local canoeing tours, to a Solar Light project on Bere Island for fishermen and funding tailored to fishermen for further education and upskilling.

FLAG North East supported projects spanning Counties Dublin, Meath and Louth, including; seafood and marine events such as Dalkey Lobster Festival and the European Sand Yachting Championships, marine tourism ventures, maritime heritage and coastal community groups. Support to seafood businesses included funding for Egan’s Ocean Fresh to develop their new production facility. This new premises has provided new employment, brand new innovative Gravadlax products and access to new markets.

FLAG North West supported a variety of projects including the Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla Achill Aquarium Experience, the provision of Pico sailing vessels for St Patricks National School in Sligo and feasibility studies for Infrastructure projects and local seafood festivals.

FLAG North funded projects including infrastructural improvements for the fishing and aquaculture sectors including crab holding tanks for Malin Head Fisherman’s Co-operative Society and modern mussel depuration facilities in Carrigart. Marine heritage was a priority for the region with funding made available for the Stolwyk Memorial Monument, Aranmore and the Laurentic Historical film archive, Buncrana. The establishment of local community initiatives including a marine educational summer camp in Greencastle will ignite an interest in the marine with young people in the region. A range of other projects covering, marine leisure, tourism attractions, sailing/rowing clubs, feasibility studies, and community festivals were also supported through the programme.

FLAG South West supported a wide variety of projects from the fisheries and aquaculture dependent coastal community. Projects ranged from effective capital projects such as refrigeration, equipment to improve handing and quality of native oysters for fishing and marine related business to improving resilience of the coastal communities e.g. in Cromane led by the Community Council all sectors, including aquaculture and fishing came to together to develop an Economic Plan for the area which gives a cogent voice expressing the needs and vision of the community. Taste Kerry produced a Kerry catch of the month calendar and of highlighting where Fishers land their catch and where shellfish growers produce their shellfish in addition to a species guide and recipes.

The FLAG South East projects funded in 2017 included training aids for a voluntary marine search and rescue unit based in Waterford, vital refurbishment/development works to Duncannon fort in Co. Wexford, purchase of equipment for community-based rowing clubs in Wicklow and Wexford, and support to seafood promotional and maritime heritage events and publications across the FLAG area. Other projects initiated in 2107 include; refurbishment by fishermen of the old ice plant in Helvick, development works to the community centre in Passage East, village development plans in coastal locations such as Kilmore Quay, and a ‘Citizen Science’ project that involved participants being trained to monitor watercourses in various locations across the FLAG region.

FLAG West supported a range of projects including the development of new seaweed projects by Blath na Mara; upgrading and the purchase of new technology to improve efficiencies in a number of local businesses including Flemings Seafood and the Burren Smokehouse. Additional supports were approved across the region in the areas of marine tourism infrastructure, business start-ups and support, supporting establishment of coastal community groups, maritime activities, and seafood and maritime festivals.

BIM would like to invite applicants to avail of the FLAG programme 2018. The Scheme is now open and application forms are available on www.bim.ie . Project proposals must be consistent with the FLAG Local Development Strategy for the FLAG area in question and address one or more of the following themes:

– Adding value to fishery and aquaculture products
– Creating/maintaining jobs in coastal areas
– Promoting innovation in fisheries and aquaculture
– Supporting diversification within coastal communities
– Lifelong learning, attracting young people into fisheries, aquaculture, and marine related careers
and activities
– Promoting social well-being and cultural heritage in fisheries and aquaculture areas
– Promoting best environmental practices
– Strengthening the role and governance of fisheries communities in local development.

Specific priorities have been developed from these themes for each FLAG area. Applicants should therefore consult the relevant FLAG strategy for the specific priorities for their area. It is also highly recommended that projects are discussed in advance with your local BIM FLAG Coordinator.
It is anticipated that project evaluations will be carried out by the FLAGs on a quarterly basis with the first round of assessments due to take place on the 16th of February 2018.

Completed applications should be sent to:
P.O. BOX 9799, C/O Caroline Curraoin, FLAG Investment Coordinator,
Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Crofton Road, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, A96E5A0