European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Launched

Pictured at the launch of the £2.3 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) were Chairperson of SEAFLAG Board - Alderman Angus Carson; Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council – Cllr Mark Murnin, Mayor of North Down and Ards - Cllr Richard Smart, Cllr Jill MacAuley, Cllr Brian Quinn, Cllr Dermot Curran, David Vint, Assistant Director, Community Schools’ Partnership & External Funding, Southern Regional College and members of the SEAFLAG committee.

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Chairperson of SEAFLAG Board - Alderman Angus Carson; Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council – Cllr Mark Murnin, Mayor of North Down and Ards - Cllr Richard Smart, Cllr Jill MacAuley, Cllr Brian Quinn, Cllr Dermot Curran, David Vint, Assistant Director, Community Schools’ Partnership & External Funding, Southern Regional College and members of the SEAFLAG committee.

The funding aims to aid communities in Northern Ireland where commercial fishing remains a major source of income and provides employment opportunities. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has appointed 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.

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

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.

Director of Marine and Fisheries Division at DAERA, 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.”

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Richard Smart, 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.

Councillor Mark Murnin, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said:

“Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is delighted to be associated with, and to support the work of, the Fisheries Local Action Group who are working towards the economic and social development of the fishing dependent communities. Under Union Priority 4, this funding will support a broad variety of projects that will focus on the promotion of economic growth, social inclusion, job creation and the support of labour mobility in coastal communities.”

Over the over the next few weeks, SEAFLAG 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.