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Minister McConalogue delivers record €335 million allocation for seafood sector and coastal communities for 2023

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, today delivered a record Budget provision for the seafood sector and coastal communities for 2023 of €335 million. The allocation represents a 62% increase in funding from 2022. This covers fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing, fishery harbour development, marine research and conservation.


Commenting, Minister McConalogue said:


“Today's €335 million budget announcement for the seafood sector and coastal communities represents the largest ever annual budget provision for the sector. Over the past year I have announced a range of schemes worth €225 million, funded under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, designed to support the seafood sector and coastal communities in overcoming the impact of Brexit. These schemes will run for the remainder of this year and for 2023 and the budget provision that the Government is making today will enable these schemes to be fully delivered. The schemes reflect the recommendations of the Seafood Task Force, which I established, and which are designed to ensure that the seafood sector and coastal communities post Brexit will continue to generate economic growth and sustainable jobs in coastal communities. Having listened to fishing representatives, and at their request, I established a second tie-up scheme worth €12m for this year to help alleviate the marine fuel pressures facing fishers. This Budget will include supports for energy costs for seafood processors.”


The schemes which have been implemented on foot of the Task Force recommendations are:


Temporary Tie-Up 2021                                                                                   €10m

Inshore Fisheries Business Model Adjustment Scheme                                  €3.7m

Inshore Marketing Scheme                                                                             €1m

Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme                           €35m

Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme                                              €25m

Seafood Capital Processing Support Scheme                                                 €45m

Temporary Tie-Up 2022 Scheme                                                                     €24m

Brexit Co-operative Transition Scheme                                                           € 1m

Brexit Sustainable Aquaculture Growth Scheme                                            €20m

Brexit Voluntary Decommissioning Scheme  [open 12 9 22]                          €60m

Total of Seafood Taskforce Scheme announcements to date                    €224.7m


In addition, the Minister advised


“I am continuing to work on progressing the remaining recommendations of the Seafood Task Force. These schemes are being prepared at present and I will be seeking to progress them to EU State Aid approval over the coming period.”  


EU funding under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) for the period 2021-2027 is being progressed separately. This support is an enabler for sustainable fisheries and the conservation of marine biological resources, for food security through the supply of seafood products, for the growth of a sustainable blue economy and for healthy, safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed seas and oceans.


Minister McConalogue said


“I have recently secured Government approval for Irelands €258 million Operational Programme for the seafood sector for the period 2021 to 2027.  This programme is in addition to the €225 million worth of schemes that I have announced on foot of the Seafood Task Force recommendations. Today’s budget announcement for 2023 will enable the implementation of the Seafood Task Force recommendations and the new EMFAF Operational Programme during 2023.” 


A number of important broader horizontal initiatives announced in the Government’s budget will also assist the seafood sector and coastal communities over the coming year. Commenting, the Minister said “In discussion with industry over recent weeks, I am aware of the energy and fuel pressures facing fishers, aquaculture operators and processors. I am confident that measures such as the extra tie-up scheme, which was requested by the industry to alleviate Brexit impacts compounded by fuel pressures, will help fishers and the energy supports schemes announced by Government today will support processors.”