IRELAND - The European Commission has adopted a key investment package for the Irish maritime, fisheries and aquaculture sectors. More than €239 million will be made available under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the period 2014-2020, including an EU contribution of €147 million.
Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella stressed the programme's contribution to sustainable growth: “I welcome the adoption of the Irish EMFF programme to support fisheries, aquaculture and maritime projects that are environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and economically viable. These smart investments will benefit fishermen, fish farmers and processors, as well as Irish coastal communities. They will maintain and create jobs in the maritime economy while preserving the unique environment in the Irish seas".
The adopted programme will support the implementation of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and Integrated Maritime Policy in Ireland.
Funding aims at making the Irish fisheries and aquaculture sectors more competitive and sustainable, by fostering innovation, skills and a more efficient and sustainable use of resources. Funding will also help Irish fishermen to adapt to the EU's newly introduced landing obligations and to better organise themselves to add value to their catches.
Funding for aquaculture will support innovation, productive investments and a reduction of the administrative burden, thereby giving a boost to the sector.
Finally, significantly higher support for local development initiatives will provide small-scale fishermen and local coastal communities with more opportunities for a better livelihood, by adding value to their fishing activities and diversifying their economies.
Ireland has a major responsibility in enforcing the rules of the CFP, but also in providing sound data for the management of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Funding will be used to develop new IT tools and technologies to support control and enforcement, to improve the collection, management and use of data that are vital for a sustainable fisheries sector, and to build knowledge to better protect the marine environment in Ireland.
In announcing the adoption of the Programme the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said: “I am delighted to announce that our comprehensive €241 million investment package for the seafood sector has been adopted in law by the Commission and the Programme can now be implemented in full. My Department has been working on this for some time with stakeholders and the State agencies that will deliver the Programme. I expect now that Schemes will be rolled out from the beginning of 2016 to assist seafood enterprises to sustainably grow their production, add value to our seafood exports and create much needed employment in our coastal communities. Our Seafood sector is worth in the region of €850 million annually to our economy and I am aiming to achieve €1 billion sales by 2020.”
TheFishSite News Desk