The European Commission has approved a €20 million scheme to support the Irish Aquaculture sector affected by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
The scheme will be open to aquaculture producers for the purchase and installation new machinery and equipment, as well as construction of new premises, with the aim of increasing the production, enhancing the quality of the Irish Aquaculture products or substantially increasing energy efficiency.
The measure will be financed under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve fund, established to mitigate the economic and social impact of Brexit, as recommended by Seafood Taskforce last year. The scheme will take the form of direct grants, covering up to 50% of the actual investment costs and will run until 31 December 2023.
IFA National Aquaculture Chair Michael Mulloy said the approval by the EU Commission of a €20m scheme for Irish Aquaculture is very welcome but this scheme is long overdue and needs to be administered as soon as possible.
“The Aquaculture sector is currently without direct grant available, and this €20m funded scheme needs to be opened to allow Aquaculture producers to make plans for future investment. Given the input costs crisis and rising inflation over the past few months, investment opportunities are becoming ever more difficult and those who are willing to take on investment projects must be supported in every way possible,” Michael Mulloy said.
“As this scheme is time limited, Minister McConalogue must direct his department to open and administer this scheme immediately,” he concluded.
The scheme is aimed at mitigating the adverse impact on employment in the coastal communities, by supporting the development of an alternative source of raw material supply for seafood processors and by enhancing the viability of aquaculture companies. The Seafood Taskforce report contains recommendations regarding €60m fund being made available for initiatives in the Irish Aquaculture sector required to overcome the impact of Brexit. IFA Aquaculture was a member of the Seafood Taskforce attending 14 meetings since it was first convened in March 2021.