A new funding programme for traditional fishing communities has been launched by the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), which covers Argyll and Bute and South Ayrshire.
The group is able to award grants totalling more than £340,000 to projects which promote economic development and an improved quality of life in traditional fishing communities.
The money comes after the area was awarded more than £250,000 from the European Fisheries Fund - a sum which has now increased with contributions from Argyll and Bute Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Natural Heritage.
The FLAG is now inviting applications from businesses, community groups and public sector organisations with an interest in securing funding.
Grants can be used to support a wide range of activities including the development of renewable energy, the redevelopment and recreational use of harbours, processes that add value to seafood produce, and efforts to support the diversification of the fishing industry through employment and training.
Applicants are invited to complete and return an ‘Expressions of Interest’ form by Friday, December 21. Successful applicants will be notified in the new year and invited to submit a full grant application for consideration by the FLAG.
Further funding rounds will be announced throughout 2013 with the last date for full applications currently scheduled for November 2013- assuming that all funding has not been allocated before then.
Though Rothesay’s heyday as a fishing port has long faded into history, the town’s harbour is still home to a small number of locally-owned fishing vessels which trawl the waters of the Clyde for the shellfish which represent most of the Firth of Clyde’s marine life.
James Robb, Argyll and Bute’s lead councillor for strategic finance and European affairs, said: “This is fantastic news for traditional fishing communities in the area and I would encourage as many applications to be made for the grants as possible.
“I believe it is vital to the economic health of the area to stimulate innovation in this industry and this will go some way to making sure that happens.”
For additional information, or to request an Expressions of Interest form, contact Chris Burrows, European policy assistant at Argyll and Bute Council on 01436 658960,