Areas begin to see revitalisation thanks to Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund

The Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund (AEFF) programme officially closed toapplicants in June 2014 after funding a total of 26 projects.

Successful applicants were awarded more than £690,000 in Axis 4 grants, funding local projects promoting economic diversification and building capacity in fisheries communities.

AEFF was financed by the European Commission and administered locally by the Aberdeenshire Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) partnership, of which Aberdeenshire Council is the lead partner. The programme successfully funded projects which revitalised Aberdeenshire fisheries areas and provided an important legacy for fishing communities.

These included the conversion of an unused fisheries building at Whitehills Marina into a high quality seafood restaurant. The “Galley” opened in summer 2013 and has proved extremely popular among local residents, tourists and harbour users.

The project aims to create a seafood culinary experience by showcasing locally-landed produce, improving the offering for visitors and tourists travelling to the marina.

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 the daily fish auction sales.

A one-tonne ice machine was installed at Banff harbour to benefit the inshore fishermen of the Moray Firth coast.

This Aberdeenshire Council-led project allows local fishermen the opportunity to obtain ice easily and convieniently, helping to maintain the freshness of locally-landed seafood and increasing the quality and saleability of products. The aim is to support the local inshore fishing community and increase economic potential by strengthening competitiveness.

Aberdeenshire Council’s European Team is now in the process of securing a new allocation of fisheries funds for the benefit of local coastal areas for 2015-2020.

Once the Aberdeenshire FLAG has its new allocation of funding confirmed, a number of community engagement events will be arranged in coastal areas to promote the new programme and inform potential applicants about the eligibility criteria.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Economic Development and FLAG chair, Belinda Miller, said: “The projects approved during the AEFF programme will provide a lasting legacy in Aberdeenshire’s fisheries areas.

“The mix of projects approved throughout the life of the AEFF programme offers both industry and community benefits and provides real opportunities for economic and social prosperity in coastal communities.”

European Programmes Coordinator, David-John McRobbie, said: “The AEFF programme has now officially closed after two years of operation.

“In total, 26 projects have benefited from Axis 4 funds in Aberdeenshire and it is clear to see the benefits which this fund brings to coastal communties as projects get underway and complete.

“The 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 Axis 4 fisheries funds for Aberdeenshire in the new European Funded period from 2015 to 2020.”

For more information about the AEFF programme and the projects approved to date, please visit: www.aeff.co.uk