A scheme to support Ireland’s inshore fishing sector to adjust their business to the post-Brexit market has opened for applications last month, following the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D.
The sector had exported up to 90% of its catch, however, the advent of Brexit and associated new fishing agreements have had an impact on export trends, as accessing or transiting through the UK market is now more complex.
The new scheme is based on recommendations contained within the final report of the Seafood Taskforce that was established by Minister McConalogue. The new scheme is being administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as recommended in the report.
Under the scheme, depending on the size of their boat, grant aid of between €2700 and €4000 is available for fishing vessel owners on completion of a tailored training programme.
BIM’s CEO Jim O’Toole said there are specific challenges facing the inshore sector in the post-Brexit landscape and the support on offer would help them adapt their business model to address these new working conditions.
‘This short-term scheme is designed to help the sector navigate the difficult trading conditions facing them as a result of Brexit,’ he said.
‘This scheme has been designed to support the Inshore sector to adjust to the new market realities post-Brexit and will provide real and practical benefit to the sector through a range of easily accessible courses that will help them strengthen their skills and help them find new opportunities for their businesses.’
Under the new scheme, fishing vessel owners with boats up to 8 metres in length can apply for grant aid up to €2700, while those with fishing vessels up to 18 metres in length can apply for grant aid of up to €4000. For vessel owners to be eligible, they must show that they were actively fishing between January and June 2021.
To receive their grant, applicants must complete at least one of five online training courses that are designed to provide the sector with the skills to adapt to the new market realities post-Brexit. These courses are designed to enable vessel owners to explore finding new market opportunities for their catch, adjust their business plans to account for the new market conditions, use digital technology to reach customers directly, help maximise the value of their catch and show how they can access alternative markets.
The scheme is open for applications until 31st March 2022.