Written Answers. - Fishing Industry Aid.

404.

asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he considers it unsatisfactory that only 12 Irish applications to avail of the most recent allocation of EC farm fund aid for fishing projects were submitted to the Commission out of a total of almost 700 applications throughout the EC; and if, in view of the recognition by the Council of Ministers in its resolution on fisheries policy of the need for further development of the Irish fishing fleet, he agrees that steps should be taken to encourage the uptake of EC aid for the fishing industry.

I am disappointed that more applications were not submitted by Irish firms or individuals for FEOGA aid particularly in view of the acknowledged need for modernisation and re-structuring of some elements of our fishing fleet and our potential for aquacultural development but I must point out that applications for such grant-aid are in the first instance a matter for individuals or companies concerned. With a view to encouraging increased interest improvements have recently been made in BIM's marine credit plan in order to allow applications to be submitted for grant-aid for the modernisation-construction of vessels up to 33 metres in length.