My Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme is the vehicle for financial supports to the seafood sector for the period 2014 to 2020. The Programme delivers a wide range of supports for aquaculture, fisheries and seafood processing through a suite of 18 schemes. The Programme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.
The Fisheries Local Area Development Scheme is providing €12 million EMFF support to projects within coastal communities around Ireland. The Scheme aims to promote innovative approaches in coastal communities to create growth and jobs in those areas, in particular by adding value to fishery and aquaculture products and diversifying the local economy towards new economic activities, in particular those offered by blue growth and the broader maritime sectors.
There are seven Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAG) established around our coast and each has developed its own Local Development Strategy, tailored to the respective FLAG's territory. The Boards of the seven FLAGs determine which projects are to be selected for EMFF funding from their allocated budget. The FLAG Boards each meet periodically to review applications which have been submitted in their region. I am aware that a number of FLAG board meetings have taken place recently and that the FLAGs are actively notifying selected projects to Bord Iascaigh Mhara, who issue formal project approval. I expect to announce a tranche of EMFF FLAG grant awards later this month.