EFF announcement means £2.2m for Shire

A bid to attract European fisheries funding to Aberdeenshire has been successful, it was announced last week.

The Scottish Government has allocated nearly £1.1 million to the area from the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4. The money will be matched by an equal sum from the public sector, meaning there will be a total of around £2.2 million available for local initiatives.

The purpose of the European fund is to promote sustainable development of fisheries areas by supporting measures to build skills and knowledge and generally increase the capacity of local fishing communities and business networks through innovation, collaboration and diversification.

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 on the Aberdeenshire FLAG, whose members will assess and approve applications.

AEFF is the abbreviation for European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 in Aberdeenshire.

Chair of the Aberdeenshire FLAG and Head of Economic Development at Aberdeenshire Council, Belinda Miller, said: “The Minister’s announcement of EFF Axis 4 funding for Aberdeenshire is excellent news and most welcome.

“I believe AEFF will be tremendously beneficial in so many ways for coastal Aberdeenshire.

“Work to recruit an AEFF coordinator and provide application forms and guidance is already well underway and we aim to launch AEFF at the end of March.”

Local fisheries communities and industries stand to benefit from the cash, which represents a significant share of the Scottish budget of £4.5 million.

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 and cooperation in fisheries areas, but without increasing catching effort.

The AEFF Programme budget requires to be committed by the end of 2013.”

Anyone with an interest in AEFF is invited to submit the AEFF Expression of Interest form on the council website at:

www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/support/aeff-expressionoiinterest.asp