Fisheries project to launch

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.

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.”