4.5m million pounds to support local projects in coastal communities
4.5 million pounds is to be made available for projects that involve and benefit local people in fishing communities across Scotland.
The Scottish Government is inviting councils to set up Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGS), which will consider applications and decide on the projects that have the greatest local benefit. Community-driven projects will be encouraged, including those relating to tourism, food and drink, renewable energy, training and environmental protection.
The funding – available through Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund – will support projects that improve quality of life and promote economic diversification in coastal communities. £1.5 million can be accessed for the Highlands and Islands with a further £3 million for rest of Scotland.
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said:
"The Scottish Government is fully committed to supporting our fishing communities. This new funding has the potential to make a real difference, by improving the quality of life for people in what can be fragile coastal communities.
"We are now looking for councils to create Fisheries Local Action Groups, which will be responsible for taking forward local decision-making on the projects that will be accepted within their area. This will empower communities and ensure that that only those projects that will give something back are selected.
"By making our fishing communities more resilient and successful, we can encourage diversification beyond traditional fishing and create new employment opportunities. The funding can also help attract a greater number of visitors to parts of Scotland that offer some the most beautiful coastlines and stunning scenery anywhere the world.”
The Scottish Government is inviting expressions of interest from 12 local authorities to apply for funding under Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund. Funding will be allocated through Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGS), with FLAGS expected to seek applications from autumn 2011.
The funding is divided into two main allocations - 1.5 million pounds for councils in Highlands & Islands local authorities (Shetland, Orkney, Highland, Western Isles and Argyll & Bute) and £3 million pounds for the rest of Scotland (Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife, Scottish Borders, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and Moray).
Axis 4 supports the sustainable development of fisheries regions. In particular it supports initiatives aimed at adding value to fisheries products; and measures to promote economic diversification in areas such as tourism and leisure, food and renewable energy that exploits local resources. It also aims to improve the quality of life in areas affected by the decline in fishing activities, such as small scale infrastructural projects environmental protection and training and capacity building for local communities.
The fifth tranche of funding awards for the fishing industry under the EFF programme will be announced on Monday, March 21st