Fishing communities stretching from Berwick to North Shields are being urged to make the most of £600,000 funding available to them before the UK exits the European Union.
North Sunderland Harbour Commissioners have recently been awarded almost £40,000 European funding for harbour improvements.
The funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Funding (EMFF) is for the manufacture and installation of three new quayside landing davits for the South Pier.
Harbourmaster Captain Phil Brabban said: “This project will alleviate congestion in the harbour while landing catch; reduce the manual labour involved and enable the catch to be landed quickly.
“Ultimately, it will result in the catch being presented to the market in perfect condition.”
Eligible projects can obtain between 50-80 per cent grant funding of the total project cost, however the money must be applied for by April 2019.
The funding can be used to support a wide range of projects including the development of small scale infrastructure at ports and harbours; adding value to fisheries products, for example, through marketing, branding and processing; the retention and creation of jobs; aquaculture and marine-based industries; promoting cooperation and innovation; and enhancing and conserving the marine environment.
The North of Tyne Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) is responsible for delivering the scheme from Berwick to North Shields.
North of Tyne FLAG area takes in 14 coastal settlements: Berwick, Holy Island, Seahouses, Beadnell, Low Newton by the Sea, Craster, Boulmer, Amble, Lynemouth, Newbiggin, Blyth, Seaton Sluice, Cullercoats and North Shields. The area has a fishing fleet of 119 vessels employing over 150 people directly in the industry.
Northumberland County Council employs FLAG staff and is responsible for ensuring that the programme rules and regulations are implemented correctly.
Coun Nick Oliver, cabinet member with responsibility for corporate services said: “This is a great opportunity for groups in our coastal communities to apply for funding for projects based around maritime industries. Fishing and its associated industries have been hugely important to the North East and this fund will help to support these businesses to grow and diversify.”
For further information, contact Simon Baxter on 07825 121778.