Harbour boosted by AEFF cash

Fraserburgh harbour.
Fraserburgh harbour.

More than £650,000 of economic development funding has helped deliver £2.1million of projects in Aberdeenshire’s coastal communities.

At the start of this month, the 2012-2015 Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund (AEFF) funding programme officially closed.

Financed by the European Commission, the programe was administered locally by the Aberdeenshire Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) partnership, in which Aberdeenshire Council is the lead partner.

Applicants were awarded more than £650,000 in Axis 4 EFF grants, helping to deliver a total value of £2.1million of projects.

The programme funded 24 projects promoting economic diversification both within and outwith the fishing industry; building capacity in communities, creating training and job opportunities and revitalising fisheries areas.

Fraserburgh Harbour benefited from two AEFF-funded projects, including the installation of pontoons allowing 30-40 smaller vessels to use the port on a regular basis.

This transformed the harbour’s South Basin, developing it into a community asset and enabling Harbour Commissioners to diversify further through increased trade and income from extra berthing capabilities.

WiFi was installed in both Fraserburgh fish markets, after users expressed concerns about mobile phone connectivity during daily fish auction sales. Projects also included the conversion of an unused fisheries building at Whitehills Marina into a high quality seafood restaurant.

The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival organisation successfully restored a derelict building at Portsoy Harbour into a Boatshed.

Macduff Shipyards, Macduff’s largest employer, was funded to install a new boat launching ramp way at Macduff Harbour.

Head of Economic Development and FLAG chair, Belinda Miller, said: “AEFF has delivered a wide range of projects that collectively improve people’s lives and businesses in the area through the provision of regeneration, diversification and capacity building”.

The council’s European Team is now focusing its attention on the new EMFF (European Maritime Fisheries Fund) programme in the hope of securing a further allocation of funds.