Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has today announced approval for a scheme which will provide €45 million in funding for capital investment projects in seafood processing enterprises.
The scheme provides the sector with a stimulus to overcome constraints arising from Brexit and incentivises change graduated grant aid rates for capital investment projects in the industry. This scheme is proposed for funding under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
Announcing the approval of the scheme, the Minister said, “Our Seafood Processors are of vital importance for our coastal communities, sustaining over 4,000 jobs and supporting the local economies in which they operate. I am pleased to announce that this new scheme will introduce significant levels of support to enable processors develop their enterprises, navigate the challenging trading environment and support jobs in the seafood sector.”
The scheme is based on a recommendation of the Seafood Taskforce which was established by Minister McConalogue to assess the impacts of Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the fishing sector and coastal communities.
In line with the recommendation, the scheme is designed to provide greater levels of funding to those capital investment projects which result in higher value-added activities. It will, in particular assist seafood processors seeking to move away from commodity production to the production of higher value-added products.
It will also help those seeking to diversify their product offering and enter new markets. Funding will also be available for seafood processors seeking to improve environmental performance and those aiming to achieve greater production efficiencies.
Minister McConalogue added: “I believe this scheme will significantly assist processing enterprises to adapt quickly, to become more sustainable in both a business sense and environmentally. Through the supports on offer, processors will be able to invest in innovative equipment, diversify their product lines and reach new, valuable markets.”
An Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will be administering the scheme, and the Minister has requested that BIM open its call for applications as soon as possible. Due to the time limitations placed on BAR funding, investment projects must be completed before the end of 2023 to qualify for funding.
Minister McConalogue concluded: “The suite of schemes and measures I have announced will support fishers, the wider seafood sector and the coastal communities which are most dependent on the sea for their livelihoods. The scheme will assist the Seafood Processing industry in making transformational change and moving further up the value chain. These investments will ensure that Ireland maintains its reputation as a source of premium quality seafood, protect food supply chains in times of uncertainty, grow coastal economies and sustain the natural environment.”