Irish fishers and processors to benefit from new €258 million EMFAF funding schemes

Ireland’s fishers and processors can now apply for funding to adapt and innovative their businesses under the €258.4 million European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2021-27 (EMFAF), which will be administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

Four new schemes were today announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. with further EMFAF schemes to be implemented in the coming weeks.

Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, BIM CEO Caroline Bocquel said the agency is committed to supporting the development of the fishing and seafood processing sectors.

“BIM is acutely aware of the importance of these new schemes to our fishing fleet and our processing sector,” Ms Bocquel said. “Full details of these schemes, and how to apply, are on our website.

“As Ireland’s seafood development agency, BIM’s own work programme includes a range of measures, also funded under EMFAF, designed to ensure we have an adaptable, resilient and sustainable seafood sector.

“Ireland is known for the quality and diversity of its seafood, from our prawns and lobster to our oysters and organic salmon. BIM will continue to work in partnership with the Department and industry to support the continued development of this important sector.”

The four schemes are:

Small Scale Coastal Fisheries Scheme – 80% support for onshore and offshore investments made by eligible small cale coastal fishing vessel owners.

Sustainable Fisheries Scheme – 50% support for onboard investments made by eligible non-small scale coastal fishing vessel owners to improve quality, energy efficiency and health and safety.

V Notching Scheme –100% support for eligible small scale coastal fishing vessels and 50% for other eligible vessels supporting conservation of lobster.

Seafood Processing Capital Investment Scheme – 50% for investments to add value to, or fully utilise raw material and 30% for investments to optimise operations.

“Applications for funding can be made using our online, grant application system,” added Ms Bocquel. “BIM officers are also available to provide advice and support to those who wish to apply for funding under these schemes.

“Also, for the first time, small scale coastal fishers who participate in BIM’s v-notching conservation programme, which protects lobster populations through the replenishment of stock, will be fully funded for every female lobster they return to the sea.”

Some 190,000 lobsters were v-notched in the six years between 2018 and 2023, weighing more than 140,000 kgs with an estimated 2.8 billion eggs released back into the water. Fishers who completed v-notching over this period received €1.9 million grant aid administered by BIM.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and BIM will be engaging with the inshore sector to progress the development of a successor to the Irish Inshore Fisheries Sector Strategy (2019-2023) in the coming months. This will provide an opportunity to consider the challenges facing the fleet and identify measures to mitigate these challenges.

For further information and to apply for EMFAF schemes, visit the BIM website.