The Axis 4 programme supports the sustainable development of fisheries areas. It aims to help develop smaller communities where fishing is in decline.
The scheme is delivered through fisheries local action groups (FLAGs) who represent the area. These FLAGs have been set up in six areas in England, covering around 20 per cent of the English coastline.
The groups are sharing a total of around £7.3 million to help build a more sustainable economy for the fisheries areas they represent.
The six FLAGs and the amount of funding available to them is:
- Hastings – £963,000
- North and West Cumbria – £1.35 million
- East Riding of Yorkshire (the ‘Holderness Coast’) – £1.15 million
- North Norfolk – £1.22 million
- Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – £1.13 million
- Northern Devon – £1.05 million.
Membership of the FLAGs includes a diverse range of stakeholders who represent the interests of those within the area. These include those working in the community, processing companies, local authorities, the Marine Management Organisation, private sector businesses and inshore fisheries and conservation authorities (IFCAs).
The strategies the FLAGs have submitted link to a range of themes which meet the Axis 4 objectives and set out the groups’ priorities for developing their areas. They were produced following consultation with a wide range of individuals and organisations.
Some of the ideas put forward by the groups include developing local brands and new markets for fish products, encouraging co-operation and communication within the fishing industry and working with partners, such as the IFCAs, on initiatives to help people learn more about the local marine environment and fishing.
The work set out in the FLAGs strategies must start by December 2013.
Process for application and allocation of funds
The FLAGs were designated as part of an open and competitive process which included a two-stage application process.
Eight groups originally applied and the final six were chosen by a panel of experts. The successful groups were announced in December 2010.
The groups were awarded FLAG status after they demonstrated a good knowledge of the challenges facing their local fisheries areas and committed to involve a wide range of people in their work including those working directly in the fisheries sector. The area the FLAG represented had to meet certain criteria set out by the European Commission.
The funding was awarded to the groups by a panel of experts, based on the strength of the local development strategies the FLAGs put forward. These strategies link to a range of themes which meet the Axis 4 objectives and set out how they will use the funding to help build a more sustainable future for their local fishing community.
Other UK FLAGs
The UK has a total of €11.6 million from the EFF for the purposes of Axis 4. The money available to the other UK administrations for Axis 4 is:
- Scotland – €5 million
- Northern Ireland – €1.5 million
- Wales – €0.5 million.
Scotland £4.2 million (based on euro exchange rates in January 2012). Scotland has now set up 12 FLAGs:
- Dumfries and Galloway
- East Lothian
- Scottish Borders
- Western Isles*
- one joint FLAG for Argyll and Bute* and South Ayrshire.
£1.3 million has been allocated for councils in the Highland and Islands (*). £2.9 million has been allocated for councils in the rest of Scotland. More information is available on the Marine Scotland website.
It is expected that Wales and Northern Ireland will be choosing their own FLAGs in the near future.
Business Relations Team
Marine Management Organisation
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 376 2694/2676
Fax: 0191 376 2681