The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is delighted to announce the appointment of the South East Area (SEA) Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) to prepare and deliver a £2.3 million local development strategy for local fishing communities.
The £2.3million funding will be made available through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to aid communities in Northern Ireland where commercial fishing remains a major source of income and provides employment opportunities.
Under Union Priority 4 the funding will support a broad range of projects that focus on promotion of economic growth; social inclusion; job creation and supporting labour mobility in coastal and inland communities depending on fishing and aquaculture, including the diversification of activities within fisheries and into other sectors of the Marine economy.
The Director of Marine and Fisheries Division, John Speers said: “The £2.3million sustainable development strategy provides an excellent opportunity for continued investment in our fishing communities through a bottom-up approach and will help secure employment. I look forward to seeing the SEAFLAG’s local development strategy come to fruition and the benefits it will bring to the local fishing communities.”
SEAFLAG comprises of representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors within the two participating Councils of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Ards and North Down Borough Council. Both chairpersons welcomed the news. The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Robert Adair, welcomed the outcome of the joint bid with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to deliver this new round of the EMFF through the SEAFLAG Board. He commented “I look forward to seeing this vital funding reaching projects on the ground, as this programme recognises and responds to the significant changes that are taking place in our fishing communities. The development of a strategy is an important next phase as it will ensure that the projects that receive funding are the best fit for their particular area.”
Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, the Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, expressed delight at the announcement that the SEAFLAG Board has been appointed to deliver the new round of funding. Cllr Mulgrew said “ SEAFLAG, through the previous funding programme, successfully delivered £2 million to a range of projects across the fishing dependent communities in Ardgass, Kilkeel and Portavogie and I am delighted that this success has been recognised and that we have been selected to deliver the new programme of the EMFF. The FLAG Board will now work to develop the local strategy and will undertake full community consultation across the fishing dependent communities.”
Over the over the next few weeks, SEA FLAG will engage with community and stakeholder groups within coastal and inland communities dependant on fishing and aquaculture to develop a comprehensive strategy. Following approval by DAERA local fishing communities will then have the opportunity to benefit from funding through the SEAFLAG call for applications.
Further information can be obtained from Margaret Quinn of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council; via email at Margaret.Quinn@nmandd.org; or by telephone 028 446 0800.