A £3m funding scheme to support the fisheries, marine and aquaculture sectors is now open for expressions of interest, Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has announced.
The funding is available over two years and replaces the previous European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
The aim of the Welsh Marine and Fisheries Scheme is to support seafood producers, coastal communities and the marine environment to thrive, by investing strategically for the long-term benefit of the sector.
In this first funding round of the scheme the focus is on assisting with finding new markets for fishery and aquaculture products, promote the quality of products and help businesses to market their products.
Expressions of interest will also be invited to support research to improve energy efficiency and mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change within the marine and fisheries sector.
Later this week a further £800,000 challenge fund will open to build capacity in coastal communities. Funding support is provided to improve environmental outcomes and potentially increase demand for local seafood with strong sustainability credentials. The pilot scheme, to be managed by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action as part of the Local Nature Partnership network aims to enhance skills on a local level and encourage partners to work together.
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
I’m pleased the Marine, Fisheries and Aquaculture support scheme is now open for expressions of interest. Our fisheries, marine and aquaculture sectors in Wales are facing many challenges following our departure from the EU and the cost-of-living crisis. I hope this scheme will go some way to help support them in marketing their business, and also finding ways to deal with the climate emergency.
The separate £800,000 funding will help build capacity in coastal communities for groups to work together on important projects to support sustainable growth, diversification and nature recovery. It is often people working locally who can deliver real change in their area, and this funding will support them to do that.