Dáil Éireann - Volume 446 - 02 November, 1994

Written Answers. - Fisheries Operational Programme.

146. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for the Marine the total investment for the fishing industry over the next five years; the targets set for development and expansion of the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2544/94]

Minister for the Marine (Mr. Andrews): The Fisheries Operational Programme provides for a comprehensive fisheries development plan designed to maintain and strengthen the fishing industry's contribution to the national economy.

The planned investment of over £140 million over the programme's six year period from 1994 to 1999 will be carefully targeted to maintain and strengthen the contribution of the fisheries sector to the national economy and in particular its contribution to the generation of growth and employment in the coastal communities.

This investment will underpin an integrated programme of development in the fisheries sector, which covers the following areas:

[1548] —the fishing fleet

—fish processing and marketing

—aquaculture

—fishery harbours and

—training.

The details of the operational programme and, in particular, the allocations of funding between the various areas, the eligibility criteria for the measures and the procedures for applying for grant-aid have not yet been finalised. These details will be part of the detailed Operational Programme for the fisheries sector, which is currently in preparation.

As regards the fishing fleet in particular, the main aim of the proposed investment is to modernise and restructure the fleet in order to develop it to its maximum potential.

The general objective of the fleet development programme is to bring about a sustainable balance between the fleet and available fish resources. Particular aims will be to:

—improve and modernise the fleet

—to enhance operational safety

—to improve the handling and hygiene standards

—to maximise the quantity, value and quality of landings by increasing take up of currently underutilised quota and non-quota stocks

—to maintain maximum employment consistent with long term viability.

The implementation of this development programme will be pursued through a wide range of specific measures including grants for modernisation, the introduction of a decommissioning scheme and steps to facilitate the selective entry of new modern vessels in the white fish sector.

The details of this programme are at present being finalised with the European Commission and I expect to be in a position to publish a comprehensive programme in due course.