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Priority Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) provides support for the sustainable development of fisheries areas. In particular, it supports measures to promote economic diversification (tourism, food, renewable energy etc.) and an improved quality of life in areas affected by a decline in fishing activities.

An important innovation in the implementation of Axis 4 of the EFF is the emphasis upon a LEADER-type approach which encourages a focus on specific areas and seeks to mobilise local actors from all sectors (public, private and civil society) to work together as “Fisheries Local Actions Groups” (FLAGs) to design and implement integrated local development strategies.

During the programming period 2007-2013 Ttwenty-one Member States will implement priority Axis 4 of the EFF and it is expected that at least 250 FLAGs will be created across the EU. These groups will also be encouraged to learn from each other through interregional and transnational cooperation. The total public investment (EFF + other public contributions) under Axis 4 for the period 2007-2013 is €826.6 million.

The FARNET Support Unit was established by the European Commission to assist in the implementation of EU measures for the sustainable development of fisheries areas, with a particular emphasis upon Axis 4 of the EFF. The Support Unit acts as a platform for networking between fisheries areas and supports and guides FLAGs in devising and implementing local solutions to the challenges confronting Europe’s fisheries areas.

Click here for more information on the work of the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET).

The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) and European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET) aim to work more closely together in the interests of promoting the wider application of the LEADER approach in coming years. Further information on joint activities will be made available as their co-operation work proceeds.