Funding totalling €3 million is being made available to help Irish fishermen improve safety equipment on their boats.
The new five-year Fleet Safety Scheme will offer grants worth up to 40% of the cost of upgrading “critical life-saving, fire-fighting and other on-board safety equipment.
It will be managed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board.
As well as supporting safety improvements on regular fishing boats, funding will also be available to buy equipment for other vessels used for sea-angling and other forms of marine tourism.
Announcing the new programme, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Sean Connick TD, said:
“I am only too aware of the pain and suffering that is caused to the families and our coastal communities as a result of accidents at sea.
“It is imperative that we do all in our power to prevent further accidents, especially casualties, and one of these preventative measures includes ensuring our fishing fleet is operating to the best safety standards.”
The minister, who predicted the programme would modernise up to 800 vessels, also called on all fishermen to undertake and complete basic safety training as soon as possible.
Rose McHugh, chair of BIM, welcomed the funding fillip.
“Safety is paramount for the Irish fishing industry and this package will help fishermen in these difficult times to modernise their vessels in line with safety standards, which will ultimately help to save lives at sea.”
The Fleet Safety Scheme is delivered as part of the 2007-13 National Development Plan – Sea Fisheries Development Programme. Under a previous round of Fishing Fleet Development Measure funding between 2000 and 2006, grants totalling €2.23 million were made available to improve 1,234 vessels.
For further information about the new fund, visit the BIM website