Making the most of EU fisheries grants

Delegates from fishing communities across Europe had a guided tour of Eyemouth Harbour
Delegates from fishing communities across Europe had a guided tour of Eyemouth Harbour

A new round of EU funding to help fishing communities is about to open and last week a delegate of EU delegates went to see how Eyemouth has spent previous grants.

Twelve East Berwickshire projects received grant funding of £626,000 towards projects costing around £1.3 million and the EU delegates, who were attending a conference in Edinburgh, took a field trip to Eyemouth to view the harbour and the new Hippodrome Arts Centre, projects that the Scottish Borders Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) delivered through the EFF Axis 4 funding.

The delegates, representing other EU local fisheries action groups, heard presentations from Hugh Williams, the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) facilitator for Scottish Borders region, Eyemouth Harbour Trust business manager Christine Bell and The Hippodrome’s Arts Centre’s Ian Tod.

Christine talked about two projects the harbour trust has delivered through EFF Axis 4, to diversify marine use of the harbour and lessen dependency on fishing activity and create a sustainable future for the harbour and local economy in this area.

The coastal tourism infrastructure development project installed a new pontoon for sail, dive and cruise tourism and their offshore renewables marketing project raised the profile of the port and Eyemouth in the emerging offshore wind sector.

Afterwards Christine said: “It was interesting and inspiring to speak with other members of the FARNET community and hear about their projects as well as have the opportunity to highlight some of the Eyemouth projects funded through EFF Axis 4.”

Ian Tod gave a presentation on the refurbishment of the former Fishermen’s’ Mission in Eyemouth, now an arts centre, which offers a wide range of high quality exhibitions and performances from artists all over the world.

The region’s FLAG manager, Hugh Williams gave a presentation on how the Scottish Borders FLAG worked and the types of projects delivered.

He explained: “The new FLAG programme will be launched early in 2016 and I am looking forward to working on new project ideas to help develop and diversify the marine economy in the Forth and Borders areas.”

The next round of fisheries community funding sees the Borders FLAG joining forces with East Lothian and Fife.