The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is funding six groups to deliver community led local development in England. These Fisheries Local Action Groups, FLAGs, will use the knowledge of local stakeholders to tackle fisheries issues at a local level. The MMO, which administers the EMFF in England recently issued funds to six FLAGS to take forward their strategies and Holderness FLAG tells us more about their approach below.
£1.8m of European and Government money
The Holderness Coast Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) was established in 2011 under the former European Fisheries Fund (EFF) programme and has since committed £1.8m of European and Government money, enabling the implementation of over 60 projects and levering in over £700k of private sector investment.
The FLAG covers all of the coastal parishes in the East Riding of Yorkshire between Flamborough in the north to Spurn in the south, encompassing the fishing and resort towns of Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea.
A wide variety of initiatives
A wide variety of initiatives have been supported by the FLAG including:
- the establishment of a major Bridlington Seafood Festival
- development of a Living Seas Centre at Flamborough for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
- the purchase of a fisheries research vessel to assess the impact of off-shore wind farms on the fishery
- a dedicated health training programme for fishermen
- introduction of escape gaps and plastic bottoms in lobster pots
- training and apprenticeship programmes to encourage young people to join the industry
- Bridlington Harbour maritime trail
- programmes to raise the awareness of local seafood
- a “fishing for litter” programme
As one of three former EFF FLAGs to continue its work under European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) we wish to maintain and build on the momentum that has been achieved in the last five years.
High level of co-operation
The FLAG has had the benefit of four years of working with the local fishing industry and a wide range of partner organisations and community groups in delivering the first FLAG programme. Equally, the industry, through the agency of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group has provided a coherent voice which enables a high level of co-operation and partnership working.
However, the FLAG is not complacent about the challenges facing the industry, including the impact of large scale off-shore development encroaching on local fishing grounds and its vulnerability to changes in market conditions.
While the opportunities presented by the current situation are as great as the threats, the industry needs to adapt and develop if these opportunities are to be converted into jobs and income. The FLAG aims to provide the support necessary for this change to take place, improving the sustainability of the industry while encouraging growth and diversification.
The fishing industry also presents opportunities for associated businesses to develop on the back of its success.
Protect and improve
The FLAG is also concerned about marine and coastal environments; the need to protect and improve them; to raise awareness of the importance of the health of the seas and to demonstrate the benefits which can flow from an industry using sustainable methods of fishing.
The new Local Development Strategy has, therefore, four priorities:
- Strengthen the fishery to become more sustainable
- Facilitate growth and diversification
- Encourage growth in supporting sectors, and
- Improve marine and coastal environments