Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
This statement updates Members about the opening of a new application window for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Standard Costs Scheme.
The EMFF in Wales is a £17m programme co-financed by the Welsh Government and the European Commission. While the official programme period ended on 31 December 2020, it is continuing to operate and draw down EU funding until the end of 2023.
More than 95% of the programme budget has been committed, with a small number of applications currently under consideration. However, over the past 12 months there has been a real terms increase in the Pound Sterling (£) programme budget as a result of fluctuations in the Euro/Sterling exchange rate, as well as project de-commitments, which has resulted in £400,000 being made available to support new projects in Wales.
The EU funding is only available until December 2023 and will be used to help the fishing industry continue to adapt to the rapidly changing market conditions for seafood products.
The EMFF SCS application window will open on 3 April and close on 12 May. Following a selection process, contracts will be issued to successful applicants in early June. Beneficiaries will have a four-month period to purchase items and submit their claims.
The scheme will support purchases from a pre-determined list of eligible equipment, at standard costs, allowing fishermen and/or vessel owners to add value to their catch to make the overall enterprise more sustainable.
Items of equipment have been selected to align with EMFF Union Priority 1 (Article 42) ‘Added value, product quality and use of unwanted catches’ – fishers only [Promoting sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based fisheries]; Applicants can benefit from grant funding of up to 80% towards the cost of capital equipment. The maximum grant award is £30,000.
To apply for the Standard Cost Scheme, applicants must be registered with Rural Payments Wales (RPW) Online, where the application and claims processes will be hosted. Details of the scheme guidance can be found on the Welsh Government website.
For any additional help and support, prospective applicants should contact the RPW Customer Contact Centre on 03000 062 5004.