Fisheries areas development project to be launched in Aberdeenshire
13th March 2012
A project to fund local initiatives which will help sustainably develop fisheries areas will be formally launched in Aberdeenshire after a successful bid to attract European fisheries funding.
The Scottish Government allocated nearly £1.1 million to the area from the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4, which will be matched by an equal sum from the public sector, meaning there will be a total of around £2.2 million available.
Local fisheries communities and industries stand to benefit from the cash allocated, which represents a significant share of the Scottish budget.
Axis 4 aims to promote economic diversification and increase the capacity of fisheries communities across the EU through support for ‘bottom up’ projects to build knowledge and skills and in turn facilitate innovation, diversification and co-operation in fisheries areas, but without increasing catching effort.
The programme is managed by Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), which represent the fisheries area in which they are based, and who are responsible for devising and implementing an Axis 4 development strategy.
The local programme will be managed by the Aberdeenshire Fisheries Local Action Group. The fisheries industry, the public and third sectors are all represented and its members will assess and approve applications for funding.
Aberdeenshire Council is lead partner and the FLAG is chaired by Head of Economic Development, Belinda Miller.
The FLAG has made a strategic commitment to assist in the identification of public sector match-funding and Aberdeenshire Council will contribute to its administrative costs.
AEFF is the abbreviation for European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 in Aberdeenshire. Ann Marie Macaskill has been appointed as AEFF co-ordinator and the programme will be formally launched at an open event in Fraserburgh at the end of the month.
A website will also be launched, featuring guidance, application forms, case studies and other information, as well as “expression of interest” forms.
In the meantime, information can be found on these web pages.
Chairman of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, said: “The council wishes the AEFF team every success in helping Aberdeenshire fisheries communities to broaden and diversify their economic base and help realise the dreams and ambitions of the people living and working there.
“Local people are invariably best placed to come up with new ideas for enhancing their prosperity and well-being and the AEFF programme provides them with the support to take their projects forward.
“The term 'blue growth' has been coined to embrace the wide range of sustainable economic development opportunities presented by our coastal and marine assets and AEFF is the ideal vehicle to enable local people to share in this growing sector.”
ISC vice chair, Jill Webster, said: “Whilst the main thrust of AEFF is all about community development and empowerment in coastal Aberdeenshire, the council is of course very well aware of the importance of the commercial fisheries sector to the local economy.
“So we hope that the AEFF programme can also help unlock the potential within small and medium sized fish processing businesses and related sectors for new product and service development and, importantly, help raise awareness - especially to young people - of what a wonderful array of locally landed seafood of the very highest quality we have available here in Aberdeenshire.”
The council’s Head of Economic Development, Belinda Miller, said: “The members of the Aberdeenshire FLAG - and in particular those from the fisheries industry - have already shown tremendous commitment in getting to grips with the intricacies of the AEFF programme and its potential for benefitting coastal Aberdeenshire, and are delighted that it is now underway.
“In January we invited project groups to submit expressions of interest in the programme so we could gauge both the appetite of local groups and the range of projects they are working on. We have had a fantastic response there too.
“So, with our AEFF coordinator and website in place and primed to help support applicants, we are delighted to announce that AEFF is now open for business.”
The AEFF programme for Aberdeenshire will formally launch on March 30 at Banff and Buchan College, Fraserburgh, from 1-3.30pm and provide an overview of the programme.
It is an open event, but those interested should register as soon as possible by calling (01467) 628278 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone with an interest in AEFF is invited to download, complete and submit the AEFF Expression of Interest form on the council website.
In general, Axis 4 projects with wide community benefit are generally eligible for higher levels of financial support than business development proposals.
Projects which would otherwise be eligible for funding under Axes 1-3 of EFF will require a robust justification to be considered for Axis 4 funding as the purpose of the programme is to complement (and not replicate) existing measures.
Applicants to AEFF will also require to demonstrate other public sector match-funding on a pound-for-pound basis, in addition to private contribution.
The programme has been running for some time in other parts of the EU and the Farnet website provides an insight into the types of projects which have been supported.
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