European Funding Still Available for Cornish Fisheries Sector24 October 2012
UK - Over £3 million is still available from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) towards projects which will benefit fishermen, the wider fisheries sector and related companies in the Cornwall area.
Cornwall has already benefited from £5 million of EFF money, with projects supported in Cornwall including £1,000 to fit safety rails and a life raft cradle onboard a fishing boat and £660,000 towards the ongoing regeneration of Newquay Harbour.
Axis 3 of the scheme can support projects which may benefit groups within the fisheries sector. This can cover large port and harbour regeneration projects and smaller developments, such as improvements to facilities and new equipment. One of the major beneficiaries of this funding in Cornwall has been Looe Harbour Commissioners.
Jeff Penhaligon, Looe harbour master, said: “We have received over £2 million in European funding for various projects around the harbour. The money has enabled us to create a new storage facility, a packing unit, processing and kitchen facilities, and hopefully a cookery school. We have also been able to buy and install new fisherman stores and new fuel tanks. This funding has really helped us and we’d encourage others in the industry to consider applying too.”
Axis 2 of the EFF can support projects which involve aquaculture or seafood processing. For aquaculture grants are available towards the development of production sites for species where demand is currently exceeding supply. In addition, it can help companies to diversify into new species which are not widely produced in England.
For processing the scheme can support factory redevelopments, processing machines and cold storage equipment which allow companies to extend their product ranges and move into new markets. Crab processing company ‘Seafood and Eat It’ received over £30,000 from the EFF scheme towards new equipment to enable the business to expand.
Neville Pittman, owner of the company said: “The money allowed us to purchase a continuous crab boiler and electric stunner. The equipment means we can process more crab and increase our capacity to meet demand.
“The application process was fairly straightforward. I downloaded a form from the Marine Management Organisation’s website, filled it in and returned it to the team”.
Axis 1 of the scheme supports fishermen to make modifications to their vessels. Funding is available for projects that will increase the safety of fishing crews when at sea, help crews fish more sustainably and improve the on-board working conditions.
Over £285,000 has so far been awarded for fishing vessel modernisation projects in Cornwall. One local fisherman to have benefitted is Anthony Hendy of Penzance He received over £1000 towards a life raft and new fuel tanks and also has been granted another £1000 for the installation of a new wheelhouse which will begin later this year.
Mr Hendy said: “Without the EFF grant I wouldn’t have been able to modernise my vessel. I also feel safer at sea knowing I have a life raft on board.
“Not having to handle fuel cans every day has improved my working conditions and saved me time. Having the extra fuel on board also means I am available to help other vessels that are in trouble if needed.
“I would encourage other fishermen to apply for EFF money. I had no problems and found the application process straightforward. On both occasions staff at the MMO coastal office in Penzance were on hand to answer questions and check my forms.”
The EFF has also funded the creation of six Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) around the English coast, including for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly FLAG has been awarded over £1.1 million towards helping make the local fisheries sector more sustainable and is currently working on around 60 projects as part of this.
Seafood Cornwall Training Ltd has been awarded over £24,000 by the FLAG as a contribution towards establishing a dedicated training facility in Newlyn. This will allow the delivery of local training to the Cornish fishing community. Other projects under consideration include enhanced winch facilities for small harbours, a compact harbour tractor, ice bins and support for businesses adding value to local seafood and shellfish.
Graeme High, EFF England Programme Manager, said: “We are pleased with the positive impact the EFF has had in Cornwall so far but we don’t want people to miss out on the opportunity to receive funding. We are encouraging potential applicants to get in touch with us now to discuss any ideas that they might have for a project. We are happy to work with people right through next year to try and use as much of the funding as we can for the benefit of the Cornish fisheries sector.
“Potential applicants can contact the EFF team if they are thinking of starting a project or aren’t sure if they will qualify or not. The team can also support applicants by mentoring projects through to completion. There are also trained officers in MMO coastal offices who can help.
“We need to receive and assess all applications by the end of December 2013 to ensure that we allocate as much of the funding as possible to projects and initiatives. This means projects need to be applied for and approved before then but can continue after that date.”
More information is available on www.marinemanagement.org.uk/fisheries/funding/eff.htm or by calling 0300 123 1032. You can also contact the Marine Management Organisations coastal office in Penzance.
TheFishSite News Desk