The South FLAG area covers the coast of County Cork including seven West Cork Islands, from the Kerry–Cork boundary West of Lauragh, in Kerry to the river at Youghal.
The fleet in the area is distributed across many small harbours and piers all along the coast. 81% of the 411-strong fleet consists of boats shorter than 12 metres that have a high dependency on inshore fishing and potting for lobsters and brown crabs. Aquaculture production in the region involves the harvesting of mussels and oysters.
Challenges for the area include the maintenance of port infrastructure which has been neglected by local authorities. Also, broadband infrastructure is very poor in some areas which leads to difficulties for small businesses. The age profile of the fishing population is rising and it is proving difficult to attract new entrants into the sector.
The FLAG strategy aims to promote and develop coastal communities by supporting initiatives which will improve the quality of life for fishing families and their communities.
Through innovation and job creation, the FLAG will support diversification and adding value to the catch of day-boat fishermen. Through training and upskilling designed to fit the specific needs of fishermen, the FLAG aims to unlock opportunities outside traditional fishing methods, and by working with local communities, they will endeavour to tackle the issue of social isolation.
Details of any project calls will be available on the BIM website.
The FLAG is interested in cooperating around adding value to fisheries, diversification for fishing communities and ongoing training and education through short courses or specific targeted training within Ireland or in other Member States.
FLAG members include Cork County Council, Udaras Na Gaeltachta (the Regional Irish Language Authority), the LEADER groups in the area, representatives of local fishing, angling, aquaculture and environmental groups and three community development activists.