Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD has launched the Public Consultation the Public Consultation on the draft Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 – Ireland’s programme under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.
Stakeholders are being invited to make submissions on the draft Seafood development Programme 2021-27 – Ireland’s programme under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) .
The EMFAF supports the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU Maritime Policy and the EU agenda for international ocean governance. Building on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020, it provides supports to achieve food security through the supply of seafood products, growth of a sustainable blue economy and healthy, safe and sustainably managed seas and oceans.
The EMFF Programme 2014-2020 saw €240 million invested in Ireland’s seafood sector, coastal communities and the marine environment. The new EMFAF Seafood Development Programme, which runs up to 2027, envisages an increase in funding with up to €258.4 million, including a €134 million EU contribution and a Government of Ireland contribution of €116 million.
On launching the Public Consultation, Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD said:
“I am pleased to launch consultation on the draft EMFAF Seafood Development Programme which envisages significant funding in our seafood sector and our coastal communities. These communities have faced extraordinary challenges in recent times, particularly due to Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. In 2021, I established the Seafood Task Force to make recommendations to address the challenges arising from these events and I have since announced a number of supports utilising the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. This new programme provides for longer term supports to enable our seafood sector engage in transformational change and for our coastal communities to thrive.”
On its approval by the Government and its adoption by the European Commission, the Programme aims to support a diverse range of activities within the marine area. For fisheries, the Programme will support capital investment on board, capital investment ashore relating to the landing obligation, innovation in fishing gear and methods, technical advice to the fleet, acquisition of first vessel by young fishers, supports to the inshore fleet, training and marketing.
For aquaculture, the Programme will support implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Aquaculture. This will include in particular support for capital investment in aquaculture sites, supports for innovation and research to develop technology and enhance knowledge, advisory services, training and marketing.
For processing, the Programme will support capital investment in seafood processing enterprises in particular to add value to raw material, enhance energy efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, and enhance competitiveness. It will also support innovation to develop new products, advisory services, marketing and training.
The Programme will support the socio-economic development and diversification of coastal communities through the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups. This will carry on from the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, implemented through the FLAGs over 2022/23, but will also have a broader remit to support community type projects.
The Programme will support Ireland’s environmental obligations through a continuation of the EMFF Marine Biodiversity Scheme. This will fund appropriate assessment of fisheries and aquaculture activities, reporting on the Marine Strategy framework Directive, projects in support of the CFP, and species and habitat restoration.
The Programme will support enhancement of Ireland’s knowledge of its marine environment, particularly in terms of enhancing knowledge of climate change impacts on fish stocks, habitats and species.
Lastly the Programme will fund Ireland’s compliance with its obligations under the CFP, specifically for fisheries protection and for fisheries management science. Minister McConalogue added:
“The programme has been developed in cooperation with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure we can help our seafood sector and coastal communities to maximise their potential while protecting our marine environment and its rich biodiversity. The views of stakeholders and the public are important in developing a shared vision of how this is to be achieved.”
The draft Programme and accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement are available on the gov.ie website along with details of how to make a submission. The closing date for submissions is 26 August 2022.