22 August 2012
Following the official launch of the ‘Axis 4 – Sustainable Development of Fishery Dependent Areas Programme’ last month; BIM is pleased to announce the establishment of the first two Fisheries Local Action Group’s or FLAG’s in the South-East and West regions.
The Axis 4 programme aims to empower fishing and aquaculture reliant communities to use the valuable resources they have at their disposal to develop and implement a strategy to increase revenue and employment opportunities for their respective areas.
Coordinated by John Hickey, BIM Regional FLAG Coordinator for the South-East area and Seamus Breathnach, BIM Regional FLAG Coordinator for the West area; the two groups include fisheries, community, county council and tourism local representatives.
Each FLAG is responsible for delivering an integrated local development 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.
Overseeing the programme, a ‘National Implementation Board’ (which comprises representatives from State organisations and the FLAGS) will provide guidance and co-ordination, while BIM will facilitate the formation of the FLAGS and oversee the administration of the programme.
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 online.
The remaining four FLAG’s (North-East, South-West, North-West and North) are expected to be in place by the end of the year.
Pictured in the Maldron Hotel, Oranmore is the recently established Western Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG).
Seated left to right: Majella Ní Chríocháin, Comhar na nOilean; Tadgh Ó Conghaile, Udaras na Gaeltachta; Séamus Breathnach, BIM Regional FLAG Coordinator, Susan Grieve, FARNET geographic expert for UK and Ireland; Patrick Mullins, Galway Bay Inshore Fisherman's Association.
Standing left to right: Alan O’Sullivan, Comharchumann Sliogeisc, Connemara; Michael O’Malley, Development Association/Aquaculture; Simon Murray, Inis Bofin Development Association; Ger Concannon, West Clare Lobstermen's Association; Paddy Crowe, Comhair Caomhan, Inis Oirr; John Hickey, BIM Regional FLAG Coordinator, Morgan Ó Conchubhair, Comharchumann, Sailearna; Eithne Nic Dhonnachadha, Galway VEC; Gerry O’Halloran, Ocean West Shellfish Exporter; Michael Fitzsimons, Failte Ireland.