For Oral Answer on : 20/04/2023
Question Number(s): 121 Question Reference(s): 17484/23
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the measures his Department is taking to support inshore fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I have been responsive to the needs of the Inshore sector in terms of financial support. In February I announced the reopening the Sustainable Fisheries Scheme (Part B). This scheme provides grant aid for on-board capital investment in fishing vessels and will be an important opportunity to maintain investment in the fleet and to enable vessel owners invest in environmentally progressive sustainable fishing.
As the Deputy is aware, in 2022 I launched the Brexit Inshore Fisheries Business Model Adjustment Scheme to assist inshore fishers to adapt their business operations to the post Brexit environment. Under this scheme 800 inshore fishers were provided with online training modules and awarded between €2,700 and €4,000 each.
This week, during my engagement with representatives of the Inshore sector, I was pleased to announce the reopening of this scheme with a new selection of training modules. Eligible applicants will again receive payments of between €2,700 and €4,000 and a total budget of €3.5 million has been allocated to fund the scheme.
These two rounds of funding are in addition to the other schemes developed which have direct and indirect benefits for the Inshore sector. These include €55 million in funding for marine infrastructure, €1 million in funding for promotion of Inshore stocks and funding for entrepreneurial opportunities aligned with the inshore sector.
As we transition out of BAR funding, Ireland’s European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) Seafood Development Programme will come to the fore. The €258 million programme will provide a wide range of supports for fishers and the wider development of the seafood sector. Inshore representatives form part of the monitoring committee for this programme and will have opportunity to input into the development of schemes to support the sector.
With the assistance of my Department, the National Inshore Fisherman’s Association (NIFA) achieved recognition as a Producer Organisation and joined the Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation (IIMRO) in representing the Inshore sector. These organisations will ensure greater representation for the Inshore sector and through the implementation of Production and Marketing Plans, will ensure the sustainable development opportunities for their members. Both of these organisations are eligible for funding under Ireland’s EMFF and EMFAF Programmes, to assist them in the achievement of their aims.
In addition to funding, my Department and BIM are continuing to assist the National Inshore Fisheries forum with the implementation of its strategy. The inshore fishing sector is a vital part of our coastal economies and communities. I am committed to supporting this and the wider seafood sector in achieving its potential.