A £360,000 Covid support scheme has been announced to support the Lough Neagh fishing industry.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) have said they will contact any fishermen entitled to the payment, set aside for those affected by market losses due to the pandemic.
In order to qualify for the support, applicants must have at least £5,000 per annum of landings in any year between 2017 and 2019, and must have held a DAERA fishing licence in one or more of the same years.
Owners of fishing vessels must have carried out fishing activities for at least 120 days during the last two calendar years prior to May 31 2020.
Fishermen must have worked for at least 120 days during the last two calendar years prior to May 31 2020 on board a fishing vessel affected by the temporary cessation.
Applicants will also be asked to demonstrate they have incurred a loss of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic between May 1 to October 31 2020 inclusive and three years' of audited accounts or proof of sales for 2017 to 2019 will be required.
Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has welcomed the financial support and has urged DAERA Minister Edwin Poots not to delay payments any longer than necessary.
"While I regret the delay and the stress and hardship that caused for Lough Neagh fishermen, I welcome the fact this Scheme is finally agreed and fishermen should get some badly needed support in the coming weeks," he said.
“I have already been in touch with Minister Poots today to understand the criteria for the Scheme and I would encourage all those eligible to apply.
"I also encouraged the Minister and his senior staff to get the payments out the door as quickly as possible, in recognition of the long delay in support fishermen have been having for many months.”
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