McConalogue announces increased fisheries funding

Charlie McConalogue, the Irish minister for agriculture, food and the marine, has announced €157m for fisheries and fisheries-dependent coastal communities in his department’s 2022 budget.

Further funding will be made available to the fisheries and agri-food sectors in 2022 through the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

Minister McConalogue said: “I am satisfied that the combination of direct financial supports and taxation reliefs in this budget, together with the supports to be provided under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve in the very near future, will provide a good, balanced package of measures for farmers, fishers, coastal communities and the food sector in 2022.”

He also welcomed the publication of the revised Irish National Development Plan, which sets the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s new five-year rolling capital allocations.

Strategic investment priorities for the department include the ongoing development work at six fishery harbour centres.

Major development projects in Castletownbere, Howth and Killybegs have commenced, and while all have been delayed somewhat due to Covid-19 restrictions, they are expected to be completed in early 2022. Preparatory work is ongoing for other projects, including a major dredging project in Howth, which is currently at the planning stage.

Minister McConalogue said: “Overall, a capital investment programme of up to €180m across all six fishery harbour centres, at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros an Mhíl and Killybegs, encompassing ongoing safety and maintenance and necessary new developments, is envisaged for commencement up to 2025. Ongoing improvements will be required thereafter.”

A second seafood- related investment priority for the department is the launch of the new Seafood Development Programme. Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-20 will award the last of its €240m budget by the end of this year. The new Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 will be launched in 2022 with €142m EU funds from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and matching funds from the Irish government.

The Seafood Development Programme will:

  • Assist enterprises in the fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors to adapt to the impacts of Brexit and Covid, grow seafood output, add value to products, enhance competitiveness and develop markets.
  • Support the conservation of fish stocks, the protection and restoration of marine habitats and biodiversity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Fund the development and dissemination of knowledge and technology to address challenges and provide opportunities for the sustainable growth of the sector.
  • Assist coastal communities in diversifying and growing their economies.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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