18 April 2011
Over the course of 2010, over 700 vessel owners benefited from grant aid administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, despite economic constraints and a reduced operating budget. The funding came from both the National exchequer and European Union. The total investment in the fishing fleet this year was almost €6 million. Of this over €3.3 million was grant assistance from BIM. The scope and variety of projects varies from previous years, with BIM adopting a more focused approach to selecting viable projects for assistance and using independent, external experts to advise in the selection process. Although the average amount of assistance received by each vessel was lower than in previous years, the revised approach meant double the amount of vessels received some form of grant aid in 2010, in comparison to 2009.
Speaking about the grant aid, Michael Keatinge, Fisheries Development Manager, BIM said, “this year has seen 850 projects benefit from state and EU assistance. Projects that were successful in their applications for assistance ranged from the purchase of life-saving safety equipment to assisting fishermen and co-ops to function in a more environmentally-conscious manner. The bottom line is that the consumer wants sustainably-caught fish products, and BIM-approved Environmental Management Systems will allow them to attain tangible proof that they are working towards this goal. The amounts of grant aid may be small, but they are focussed on an important strategic aim; to position the Irish seafood industry so it is able to better exploit the massive potential that exists within the global seafood market.”
BIM continues to support and work closely with almost 190 Irish fishing vessels to enable them to put Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in place that mean something to the end consumer and ensure the Irish catch continues to be a sought-after product. In addition to working with vessels, there are a number of EMS’s in the pipeline with the Co-ops themselves.The Marine Environment Protection Scheme highlights the level of innovation and sound business sense being applied within the industry. There are a number of creative projects being assisted and funded in part by BIM under this scheme, such as the recycling of polyethylene fishing gear - a project which benefits all users of the marine environment.