The creation of a Fisheries Local Action Group, or FLAG, between the Tyne and the Scottish Border has moved a step closer following a successful application.
Applied for by the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) in partnership with Northumberland County Council (NCC) and North Tyneside Council, a FLAG would enable local fishing communities to draw down additional funds from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to support the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and to enhance the sustainable growth of the local fishing industry.
The application process is in two stages and NIFCA has now been invited by the EMFF coordinating body, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), to move to the second stage, the creation of a Local Development Strategy.
NIFCA chief executive Mike Hardy said: “It is a great achievement to have made it through to the second stage of the FLAG application and credit should go to the NIFCA officers who pulled the application together in only three weeks and the colleagues they worked closely with, particularly at NCC, who are taking the role as accountable body for the scheme.
“We involved many local stakeholders in the application, including port authorities, wholesalers and local fishermen and I thank them for their support.
“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing; a successful and sustainable fishery off the coast north of Tyne.
“Becoming a FLAG will bring new money into the region and bring stakeholders together to generate projects to improve the industry.”
The Local Development Strategy for stage two will be submitted in the summer.