Donegal TD Joe McHugh has announced the award of €1,492,002 in funding to five firms in the county in the seafood processing and aquaculture industry.
Mr McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, said Donegal had secured the highest amount of funding for the sector.
Mr McHugh said: “I am delighted to announce that Donegal has received a huge investment boost from the Government and European Union in order to sustain and develop the hugely important seafood and aquaculture industry in the county.
“Five companies will benefit. These are businesses that are providing valuable employment and helping to sustain coastal communities while at the same time they are develop new markets for the Donegal economy. They have ambitious plans and with this financial backing they can now set their sights on taking advantage of growth opportunities.
“Donegal is leagues above other parts of the country when it comes to the seafood and aquaculture industry and it is impressive to see such strong backing for the growth of the industry from both our own Government and from Europe.
“In total €1,492,002 is being sanctioned in grants and I’d like to praise the teams involved in Atlantic Bluestack Oysters, Ocean Farm Ltd, Racoo Shellfish, Bells Isle Seafoods and Donegal Fish Ltd for pursuing ambitious growth strategies.
“Donegal has secured more funding for seafood and aquaculture businesses than any other county in this latest round of funding. This is what can be achieved with the right determination from business and the influence that I can exert around the Cabinet table.
“These grant awards contribute to the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and are another example of this Government sustaining and develop communities in rural areas.”
The grants are being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the European Union under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme (EMFF).
In total €4,863,643 in grants is being awarded to 26 seafood enterprises and three research institutions in 11 different counties.
On top of the grants for Donegal-based seafood enterprises, Jade Ireland Seafood Ltd, which has a presence in Donegal, Wexford and Cork, secured €38,925 under the EMFF scheme as part of an overall investment of €155,700 for development of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets.
Under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme (EMFF) the grants are co-funded by Government and the European Union and subject to terms and conditions.
The following companies were awarded grants:
:: Atlantic Bluestack Oysters secured €31,859 under the scheme as part of an overall investment of €79,647 for phase one development of an oyster farm.
:: Ocean Farm Ltd secured €282,908 under the scheme as part of an overall investment of €707,270 for the upgrade of salmon farm technology and €1,925 as part of an overall investment of €3,850 for Organic Certification.
:: Racoo Shellfish secured €184,750 under the scheme as part of an overall investment of 461,876 for the construction of an oyster grading facility.
:: Bells Isle Seafoods secured €109,018 under the scheme as part of an overall investment of €272,544 for the development of an oyster handling facility.
:: Donegal Fish Ltd secured €881,542 under the scheme as part of an overall investment of €2,938,474 for an IQF filleting production project.