£7.6m for Scottish fishing communities

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    A scheme is to provide funding for projects that make a difference in local Scottish fishing communities, with up to £7.6 million to be shared out across 13 local authorities.

    £4.2 million is available under Axis 4 the European Fisheries Fund, which the councils involved need to co-finance in order to access. Under the scheme community-driven projects will be encouraged, including those relating to tourism, food and drink, renewable energy, training and environmental protection.

    Eligible councils were invited to create Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) to consider applications and decide how the funding will be allocated locally. It’s expected that all FLAGs will be in operation by the spring. Councils will invite local groups to apply in due course.

    In total there will be 12 FLAGs: Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian, Fife, Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland, Scottish Borders, Western Isles, as well as one joint FLAG for Argyll & Bute and South Ayrshire.

    Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said:

    “The social and economic factors affecting Scotland’s fishing communities are, of course, closely aligned to the fishing industry. Therefore it’s important that we support these communities to diversify and prosper.

    “By allocating funding at a local level, communities can be empowered to only back projects that improve quality of life and deliver genuine benefits for the local community.

    “A diverse range of projects will be eligible to apply – from skills training for local people, to community renewable energy projects, or improvements to tourism services to attract more visitors to our beautiful and more remote coastlines. But this is just a snapshot of the many community projects that may receive funding under this initiative.

    “I want our fragile fishing communities to become more resilient and creating new employment opportunities for local people is a key part in making this a reality. This funding can help unlock the potential of our coastal communities, ensuring that they can be successful and sustainable in the years to come.”

    £4.2 million of funding (based on current Euro exchange rates) has been accessed by the Scottish Government under Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund. To access the funds, local authorities are required to provide additional funding (on a 25/75 basis for Highlands and Islands and a 50/50 basis for rest of Scotland). If the full £4.2 million available is allocated, this will bring the total to £7.57 million.

    The EFF funding is divided into two main allocations – £1.3m for councils in Highlands & Islands (Shetland, Orkney, Highland, Western Isles and Argyll & Bute) and £2.9m for the rest of Scotland (Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, East Lothian, Dumfries & Galloway, and Moray).

    AREA – EFF FUNDS AVAILABLE – COUNCIL CONTRIBUTION – TOTAL

    Aberdeenshire – £1,077,691- £1,077,691 – £2,155,382
    Angus – £85,613 – £85,613 – £171,227
    Argyll & Bute – £256,416 – £85,472 – £341,888
    Dumfries & Galloway – £579,577 – £579,577 – £1,159,153
    East Lothian – £85,613 – £85,613 – 171,227
    Fife – £85,613 – £85,613 – £171,227
    Highland – £412,044 – £137,348 – £549,392
    Moray – £185,236 – £185,236 – £370,472
    Orkney Islands – £99,306 – £33,102 – £132,407
    Scottish Borders – £361,652 – £361,652 – £723,303
    Shetland Isles – £217,879 – £72,626 – £290,506
    South Ayrshire – £133,349 – £133,349 – £266,699
    Western Isles – £232,701 – £77,567 – £310,268

    FLAGs will be encouraged to share ideas and experiences and engage in co-operative projects that contribute to sustainable development. To support this ten per cent of the funding will be managed centrally as a co-operation budget. This comprises of £438,500 from the EFF, which including ten per cent of the council contributions increases to £757,000.

    Axis 4 of the EFF supports the sustainable development of fisheries areas. It includes 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.