Ireland's seafood-processing sector receives EUR 45 million post-Brexit boost
A plan to provide EUR 45 million (USD 46.9 million) for capital investment projects in seafood-processing enterprises across Ireland has been approved by Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.
According to the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, the new scheme is based on a recommendation of a Seafood Taskforce established by McConalogue to assess the impacts of Brexit and the subsequent E.U.-U.K. trade and cooperation agreement on the fishing sector and coastal communities.
With the sector facing significant challenges since Brexit, including reduced supply and reduced access to markets, the taskforce recommended the provision of a stimulus to drive transformational change and overcome constraints that have arisen, and to provide graduated grant aid rates for capital investment projects in the industry. In particular, the scheme will assist seafood processors seeking to move away from commodity production to the production of higher value-added products. It will also help and to 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.
“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,” McConalogue said. “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."
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will be administering the scheme, and McConalogue has requested that BIM open its call for applications as soon as possible. Investment projects must be completed before the end of 2023 to qualify for funding.
“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," McConalogue said.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine