WWF and Blue Seeds have launched an innovative scheme supporting small-scale fishers in coastal areas that want to implement measures to reduce the environmental impact of fisheries. The initiative was launched in a series of information meetings on 7 April, and FLAGs are well-placed to reach out with this information to potential beneficiaries and to act as a local contact point for fishers all around Med. It is a pilot with a budget of €400 000. The idea behind it is simple: all coastal fishers in Mediterranean European countries wishing to submit a project under the scope of EMFF, could ask for technical support and co-financing to better design their submission. If selected, beneficiaries can access this alternative fund to cover their own contribution (with a value of between €5 000 to €20 000). In line with EMFF objectives, support can be given to any funding requests to the EMFF that meet the environmental goals of the European fund. This includes diversification projects that help to reduce fisheries pressure on fish stocks, or selectivity of fishing gears to decrease the amount of unwanted bycatch. However, in the event that the MA does not approve the EMFF funding request, the WWF/Blue Seeds initiative could possibly finance the implementation of some of the project´s EMFF eligible actions.
The deadline for submitting the first round of applications is 15 May. A second call is foreseen for June 2021. In case this initial phase brings good results, a second phase will be launched where loans will be provided for pre-financing (to be reimbursed after the beneficiary receives EMFF funding), as well as co-financing; this will take the form of a revolving fund.
More information about the grants is available here: