There’s almost £1m to be pumped into the Hastings fishing industry to ensure it’s sustainable and environmentally sound.
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has been successful in securing £800,000 of European union cash through the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to set up a Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) programme that runs through until 2020.
The Hastings FLAG will support commercial fishing from the town through what is described as ‘community-led’ local development.
Councillor Kim Forward, lead member for regeneration says she is ‘very pleased’ at the continuing success of the Hastings FLAG. It’s supporting a 1,000-year-old community industry through the use of innovative 21st century ideas and techniques.
“These are helping to ensure its sustainability and place at the heart of our town,” says Ms Forward.
Hastings FLAG is delivering three key themes: Sustainable Fleet and Supply Chain, The Environment, and The Place. So far, eight applications have been approved and these include:
- New bespoke ice flakers for Hastings Fish Market. This project received an 80 per cent funding grant. The remaining 20 per cent of the cost has been granted by the Foreshore Trust as a community asset.
- The Hastings Fish brand, is being delivered by HBC. This project received 100 per cent FLAG funding because it’s seen as a priority by EMFF. The brand will be launched at this year’s Seafood and Wine Festival and will promote local, sustainably caught fish.
- Supporting Sustainable Sepia Stocks: Sussex inshore fisheries conservation authority (IFCA) is conducting new research into the life-cycles of cuttlefish. The results will inform fishermen and scientists about egg survival rates and increased sustainability. This project obtained 100 per cent funding from FLAG as the project is seen as innovative and a number of stakeholders will benefit from the outcome of the research project.
- An aspiring chef’s academy will be run by the Education Futures Trust. Based in Classroom on the Coast it received 75 per cent FLAG funding. Students from secondary schools across Hastings will take term-long courses to learn fish cookery and to understand the industry. They will be showcasing their skills in a pop-up restaurant in the Stade Hall on Tuesdays during term time between 12-2pm.
- Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society (HFPS) was given an 80 per cent grant for a mini digger for trench digging to get boats up and down the beach.
- HBC received a 75 per cent grant for replacement vehicle barriers with new fob system to restrict access to the beach for essential users and keep the winch road safe for the public and fleet.
- Two individual fishermen have received FLAG funding for health and safety improvements to their boats with a further five gaining funding through the core EMFF programme.
All applications are assessed by the FLAG Board which is made up of representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors as well as the fishing industry. Applicants can receive between 50-100 per cent funding and FLAG is still seeking expressions of interest for projects up to £100,000.