Bord Iascaigh Mhara(BIM), officially launched ‘Axis 4 – Sustainable Development of Fishery Dependent Areas Programme’ – an exciting new initiative to empower and support our coastal communities, today (12th June, 2012) at the Alexander Hotel, Dublin.
Pictured at the recent BIM launch of ‘Axis 4 – Sustainable Development of Fishery Dependent Areas Programme’ are Michael O’Malley (Cleggan), Tadgh O’Conghaile, Udaras na Gaeltachta, Seamus Breathnach, BIM Regional FLAG Co-ordinator West and Padraig Ó Sírín (Belmullet)
The programme, to be implemented by BIM, will be delivered as part of the National Development Plan and the European Fisheries Fund. Fisheries Local Action Groups or FLAG’s will be established in each region to deliver a strategy for their own area on a devolved basis. To facilitate the process, an oversight body – National Implementation Board – has been established whose role is to inform the Implementing Authority (Bord Iascaigh Mhara), and to ensure consistent implementation of Axis 4.
The main aims of the programme are to maintain economic and social prosperity by adding value to fisheries and aquaculture sectors; retain and create employment through the support for diversification and through restructuring of areas facing socio-economic difficulties as a direct result of changes in the Fisheries sector.
Speaking at the launch, Michael Keatinge, BIM Fisheries Development Manager explained the rationale behind the programme: ‘In essence, Axis 4 aims to empower local fishing communities to use the valuable resource of fishing and aquaculture to create new and sustainable sources of income. Fishing and Aquaculture are the lifeblood of many of our coastal communities and this programme will provide the tools and resources to local people – who best understand both the problems and aspirations of their own community – to develop solutions to meet their future needs’
Six FLAG’s will be formed for the following areas:
- North-East (Omeath to Lough Shinny)
- South-East (Greystones to river at Youghal)
- South-West (the river at Youghal to Foynes)
- West (Kilimer to Leenane)
- North-West (Killary to Easkey)
- North (Ballyshannon to Muff)
Each FLAG will consist of a mix of representatives from State organisations and fishing and marine groups. Download the guidlines to setting up a Fisheries Local Action Group
Once up-and-running, each FLAG 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.
Typically projects will be drawn from the following:
- Small scale fisheries and tourism infrastructure
- Skills transfer, particularly, training and up skilling of fishermen
- Diversification into marine eco tourism
- Promoting the consumption of sea food
- Adding value to local/artisanal fisheries