What is the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund?

The EMFF funds actions that support the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/ and Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) https://www.ouroceanwealth.ie/ through the implementation of an Operational Programme (OP) in the period 2014-2020.

In Ireland there is approximately €239.2 million available for the following objectives.

  • Helps fishermen in the transition to sustainable fishing
  • Supports coastal communities in diversifying their economies
  • Finances projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts
  • Supports sustainable aquaculture developments
  • Makes it easier for applicants to access financing.

The EMFF Operational Programme for Ireland is organised around the following priorities:

Union Priority 1 (UP1) Sustainable Development of Fisheries:

€ 67 million (28% of the total EMFF allocation) aim at assuring the sustainable development of fishing activities, while protecting the marine environment. The OP will help Ireland to adjust fleet capacity to available resources and support the Irish fishing fleet in tackling the obligation to land all catches, also through investments in port infrastructures.

Union Priority 2 (UP2) Sustainable Development of Aquaculture:

€ 29.8 million (12.5% of the EMFF allocation) will support the Irish National Strategic Plan for Aquaculture that aims at boosting the competitiveness of the aquaculture sector. Support will go towards three main areas: sustainable aquaculture production; knowledge, innovation and new technology; and more effective governance of marine planning.

Union Priority 3 (UP3) Implementing the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP):

€ 84.9 million (35.5% of the EMFF allocation) will go towards compliance with CFP rules regarding control and data collection. Funding will be used to further develop risk-based inspection of fishing activities and enhance cooperation with other Member States to ensure effective fisheries control and inspection in Ireland and at EU level. EMFF funding will also ensure a more efficient data collection and management, by improving scientific assessment of stocks and the knowledge on the state of the marine environment at sea.

Union Priority 4 (UP4) Sustainable Development of Fisheries & Aquaculture Areas:

€12 million (5% of the EMFF allocation) will support local development initiatives – a substantial, eleven-fold increase compared to the 2007- 2013 funding period. EMFF funds will create and maintain jobs in fisheries and aquaculture areas and strengthen the role of the small-scale fisheries sector in the development of local communities.

Union Priority 5 (UP5) Marketing & Processing:

€33.3million (13.9% of the EMFF allocation) will go towards creating scale in the Irish marketing and processing sectors, starting from the base of very small-scale businesses. Funds will also go to developing new products from underutilised/non-commercial species.

Union Priority 6 (UP6) Supporting the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP):

€10.6 million (4.4% of the EMFF allocation) will be used on measures to improve the knowledge on the state of the marine environment and the level of protection of marine areas, through collection and harmonisation of marine data and development of marine spatial planning capacities.

€1.6 million (0.7% of the EMFF allocation) is allocated to technical assistance in order to reinforce implementation and ensure efficient administration of the EU funding.

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government of Ireland co-fund the EMFF Operational Programme for Ireland.


Total OP Budget


Total EU Contribution


Total Exchequer Contribution


For further information on the EMFF OP in Ireland

Programme Document

First Modification

Second Modification

Third Modification