Minister announces new Brexit Fisheries local action group scheme to promote blue economy

March 25th, 2022 2:33 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The Castletownbere fishing fleet on a sunny day (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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A €25m Brexit Fisheries Local Action Group scheme to promote entrepreneurial activity and diversification in coastal communities was announced today by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD at the Skipper Expo ‘22 in Limerick.

Minister McConalogue announced the new Brexit mitigation scheme to promote the Blue Economy which will be delivered through the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs).  The scheme delivers on a recommendation of the Report of the Seafood Task Force – Navigating Change (October 2021).

Announcing the Scheme at the Skipper Expo '22, which is Ireland’s flagship fisheries show that attracts large numbers of exhibitors and visitors from all over the world, Minister  McConalogue said the Scheme 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. '

'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 10 kilometre 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 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.  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 Task Force.

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