Coastal communities to get €45m in Brexit funds for seafood processing

Fishers to be offered payments tie-up trawlers for two months

Coastal communities will receive €45 million in Brexit adjustment funding for investment in seafood processing, the Government has announced.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announced approval for the scheme, which is based on a recommendation of a seafood taskforce set up by his Department in the wake of Brexit.

The allocation is being provided under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund.

Mr McConalogue said that seafood processors are of “vital importance” to coastal communities and sustain over 4,000 jobs. The scheme will provide greater levels of funding to capital investment projects which result in higher value-added activities, the Department said in a statement.

In particular, it will seek to assist processors seeking to move away from commodity production and into higher value-added products, diversifying their product lines or move into new markets. The funding will also back processors seeking to improve environmental performance or achieve greater production efficiencies.

"Through the supports on offer, processors will be able to invest in innovative equipment, diversify their product lines and reach new, valuable markets," Mr McConalogue said. Bord Iascaigh Mhara will administer the scheme, and has been asked to open its call for applications as soon as possible.

A deadline associated with funding granted under the BAR, projects have to be completed before the end of 2023 to qualify for funding.

The fund is also due to allot €24 million in funding for a tie-up scheme for trawlers, designed to safeguard fishing stocks and the haul among fishermen still putting out to sea but competing for reduced quotas after the UK’s departure from the EU. Mr McConalogue said he has modified the scheme in light of quota cuts taking effect this year, which means that owners cn choose to tie-up for two calendar months, freeing up additional quota for those vessels continuing to fish.

The scheme is expected to operate over the June to October period, but MrMcConalogue is to ask for approval of the scheme to encompass November to allow for an additional August/November tie up option.