Graeme High (MMO, England Intermediate Body Manager) tells us about the progress of the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in England.
It is hard to believe that the EMFF scheme has been open for just over a year now in England – time seems to have moved so fast. When we launched the scheme on 18 January 2016 we were keen to act on customer feedback on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and so we ensured a user friendly online EMFF application system was in place for launch complemented by a refined website with searchable EMFF guidance.
So where are we now? Well, 210 projects have received grant funding worth £8.4 million, with a total project value of £16.7 million. A further 193 applications have been submitted and are in progress. I am therefore really pleased with how things are developing. Interest in the scheme in general is also high and we have answered 461 expressions of interest. Expressions of interest are something new to this scheme – they allow customers to tell us about the project they wish to undertake and express an interest in receiving funding for them, we can then provide assistance and guidance to the customer before a full application is submitted.
On the subject of EMFF applications and expressions of interest I wanted to take the chance in this blog to urge people to visit our website and look at the wide range of EMFF funding opportunities available. We have also added a ‘focus on’ feature to our marine developments blog where customers can learn more about the benefit EMFF funding has brought to a range of applicants. I would urge people to visit this blog to get ideas and inspiration as to how the funding can be used and the opportunities available.
Please also remember that the funding opportunities under EMFF are very wide – ranging from aquaculture and fisheries to science and innovation. Indeed fishermen’s safety has its own specific budget and a large proportion of funding has been committed to projects such as Seafish Fisherman’s training, over the next two years.
Whilst the majority of applications to EMFF are for projects of less than £100,000, projects with a value exceeding £100,000 are regularly received and these are considered by a panel of experts. The Panel assesses the social, economic and environmental merits of each application and during 2016 we have progressed 37 panel cases. For 2017 one panel has already been held, considering 18 applications and a further three panels will be held later this year. The next available panel application deadline is 7 April 2017 for a panel which will be held on 13 June 2017 and interest is already extremely high. Further panel dates can be found on our website.
Last but by no means least, a key part of EMFF are the Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) which are created to develop community led local development in England. After a rigorous selection process during 2016 the six successful areas were each allocated a £800,000 budget to take forward their Strategies. These are: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Dorset and East Devon, Hastings, Holderness, North Thames and North of Tyne. All have now successfully launched and are actively working with applicants in their areas. You can find out more about the journey of the FLAGs and their future plans on our marine developments blog.
In closing, as you can see, a great deal is happening and has happened in respect of EMFF in England so please visit our website to learn more about EMFF, or contact our helpline on 020802 65539, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about the funding available under EMFF.