Representatives from fishing, aquaculture, tourism, community development, county councils and leader groups were recently brought together by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM ), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, to establish a Fisheries Local Action Group or (FLAG ) for the Western region (Galway and Clare ) with the aim of boosting revenue.
This comes following the official launch last month of ‘Axis 4 – Sustainable Development of Fishery Dependent Areas Programme’. The programme, which is coordinated by BIM and overseen by a National Implementation Board, aims to empower fishing and aquaculture communities to use the valuable marine resources at their disposal to develop strategies to increase revenue and employment opportunities for their respective areas.
The Western FLAG is one of six FLAG groups in key coastal areas around Ireland involved in the programme this year. Each FLAG is responsible for delivering a strategy for their area on a devolved basis. The groups will formulate a local development strategy that identifies suitable projects that require financial or expert assistance. With the development of these strategies, there will be a call for projects from individuals and local communities.
To qualify for funding, projects must satisfy specific criteria. For example, projects must be based in coastal areas (with the exception of areas of populations in excess of 15,000 ) and not located more than 10kms from the sea. In addition, projects must have a clearly identifiable marine connection or provide a specific benefit to a fishing region. In many cases, beneficiaries of support will be required to be either workers in the fisheries sector or persons with a job linked to the sector.
In order to start the strategy process, BIM is requesting applications from suitable companies and/or individuals to facilitate the drafting of the strategies on behalf of local stakeholders. Advertisements regarding the tender application are available in marine trade press, local papers and on the Government portal website www.eten ders.gov.ie and/or www.bim.ie