Coastal destinations may wish to note that in section 3 pages 35 and 36 of the Defra led White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations there is brief discussion on the current EU and future, post BREXIT fisheries funding and on future support for coastal fishing communities. The support for coastal community’s references both the proposed, and as yet to be consulted upon, UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the existing Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (formerly DCLG) led Coastal Communities Fund (CCF).
The inclusion of CCF could (should?) be read simply as a statement of fact; the fund exists and it is already open to support all coastal communities, including those where commercial fishing is a local industry. Read as it naturally flows in combination with the rest of the section and with an ever-suspicious mind, it is possible to wonder whether the CCF is, or could be, offered up or is erroneously being seen by some in Government, in part as a replacement for elements of the current substancial fisheries funding and/or as constituting part of the coastal community’s fair share of any future Shared Prosperity Fund?
It is worth those destinations where fisheries are important making sure that local submissions do recognise the importance of CCF funding to a wide range of industries and activities, mainly outside fishing. The very existence of the EU funding means that the fishing communities and fishing related projects have had far less call on CCF in the past. Without adequate replacement for EU funding they will have far more call on CCF in future. Bids against CCF are already always heavily oversubscribed and far fewer worthy projects get funding than need it.
Where fisheries are not an important part of the local economy and full local submission aren’t being made, it still gives an opportunity for destinations to consider submitting comments on section 3 only, disabusing Defra of any thought that CCF could easily be redirected or relabelling to fill gaps created by the loss of current EU funding for fisheries and fishing communities. The CCF was created and subsequently maintained in recognition of a set of unusual circumstances and of chronic need. Despite the additional funding that has yet to substantially improve, largely due to the scale and spread of coastal communities and their associated issues. Adding to the potential demands on CCF simply will not work, put simply you can’t possibly squeeze a quart out of a pint pot. The consultation closes on 12 September 2018.