European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF): before you apply

Information about the available funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) scheme

The Marine Management Organisation has closed the scheme to new applications after fully committing its remaining funding. It is now working with applicants to issue grants as quickly as possible.

The EMFF scheme in England opened for some applications on 18 January 2016 with the remaining Articles being opened on 23 May 2016. The €92.1m available budget and will provide funding for:

  • assisting the fisheries sectors with the implementation of the reformed CFP including the Landing Obligation
  • improving health and safety on fishing vessels
  • improving the added value or quality of fish caught including use of unwanted catches
  • investments in fishing ports, landing sites, auction halls and shelters
  • processing of fishery and aquaculture products
  • investments in aquaculture
  • Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAG)

You can apply for funds to support the fishing and maritime sectors under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

EMFF follows the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and will run until 2020 or until all available money has been allocated. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will accept applications for EMFF funding from early 2016.

About the EMFF

The EMFF is a European funding scheme which will support fisheries, inland waters, aquaculture and maritime sectors. The fund provides support for sustainable development within the fishing and aquaculture sectors and conservation of the marine environment, alongside growth and jobs in coastal communities. The purpose of the scheme is to provide European Member States with a financial support mechanism to the fisheries, inland waters, aquaculture and maritime sectors. The scheme will help reach economic, environmental and social goals and will enable European Member States to:

  • help fishermen in the transition to sustainable fishing
  • support coastal communities in diversifying their economies
  • finance projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts
  • make it easier for applicants to access financing

The UK has €243 million (around £190 million) of the programme which is split between England (€92.1 million), Scotland (€107.7 million) Northern Ireland (€23.5 million) and Wales (€19.7 million).

EMFF priorities

The aims of the EMFF is structured around 6 priorities, each with several specific objectives. All of these are supported by specific measures.

Promoting sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge based fisheries

EMFF support under this priority will focus on innovation and added value that can make the fisheries sector economically viable and resilient to external shocks and to competition from countries not in the European Union. This will promote environmentally sustainable, resource efficient, competitive fisheries which are more selective, produce less discards, and do less damage to marine ecosystems. Projects that fall under this priority could be for:

  • research and innovation in new technologies that increase the selectivity of gear
  • energy efficiency improvements to fish processing technology
  • restoration of marine ecosystems

Fostering sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge based aquaculture

Aims to ensure the aquaculture sector is environmentally sustainable, resource efficient and competitive, and help such businesses to become green, economically viable and competitive, while providing EU consumers with healthy and highly nutritional products. Projects that fall under this priority could be for:

  • investment in technology which improves aquaculture potential
  • sharing best practice on sustainable aquaculture

Fostering the implementation of the CFP

Supports the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) through the collection and management of data to improve scientific knowledge. This also supports the monitoring, control and enforcement of fisheries legislations.

Increasing employment and territorial cohesion

Aims to increase employment and promote economic growth and social inclusion in coastal and inland communities dependent on fishing. Projects that fall under this priority could be for:

  • implementing community-led local development strategies though Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs)

Fostering marketing and processing

Aims to improve market organisation for fishery and aquaculture products, processing and marketing sectors. Projects that fall under this priority could be for:

  • setting up Producer Organisations
  • organising certification schemes to increase the value of catches
  • investment in technology to increase opportunities to use by-catch

Fostering the implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy

The Integrated Maritime Policy is a European policy which aims to provide a more coherent approach to maritime issues. It focuses on issues that do not fall under other sector-based policies and where coordination of different sectors is required. Projects that fall under this priority could be for:

  • increased international cooperation in areas that support the overall aims of the policy

What EMFF funds can support

The fund provides support for sustainable development within the fishing and aquaculture sectors and conservation of the marine environment, alongside growth and jobs in coastal communities in the UK. You can apply for funding for things like:

  • investments on board fishing vessels
  • gear replacements
  • improvements to shore-based facilities
  • advisory services, partnerships, training and innovation
  • investments in fisheries management and seafood processing
  • investments in aquaculture, animal health and inland fishing

Later in 2016, you will be able to view and download a list of projects that have already been offered EMFF funds.

If you work in the fishing industry, you can apply for an EMFF grant to fund sustainable development and support growth and jobs in EU coastal communities.

The following organisations run the EMFF scheme:

  • Marine Management Organisation (MMO) – In England
  • Marine Scotland – In Scotland
  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Northern Ireland (DARDNI) - in Northern Ireland
  • Welsh government – in Wales

Expression of interest form

You can use the Expression of interest form if you would like an initial assessment of the potential eligibility of your project before submitting a full application form through the online E system. Any advice you receive following an Expression of interest response is only an indication of potential eligibility and is not a guarantee of funding. No offers of funding will be made until after a full application has been submitted, assessed by MMO and approved and you have received an offer letter.

Funding you can apply for

To apply, you need to propose a project. There are 6 funding areas you can apply for.

Each grant has its own application form and its own guidance note. You should read the guidance note relating to your project type and the General Guidance note before you complete your application.

1. Fishing vessel energy improvements

Specific guidance note.

2. Investments on board vessels

Specific guidance note.

3. Shore-based improvements

Specific guidance note.

4. Partnerships, information sharing, advisory services, job creation and training

Specific guidance note.

5. The marine environment and inland fishing

Specific guidance note.

6. Support for Aquaculture, Processing and Marketing

Specific guidance note.

Activities you can apply to fund

You can apply for funding to:

  • improve the energy efficiency of your gear or vessel
  • expand your business into new markets and find new ways of increasing productivity and throughput
  • improve health and safety
  • boost the value and quality of your product and including ways to use unwanted catch
  • improve fishing ports, landing sites, auction halls and shelters
  • try innovations in fisheries, the maritime sector and aquaculture
  • marketing measures
  • process fishery and aquaculture products
  • start a partnership between scientists and fishermen
  • create jobs in the fishing or aquaculture sectors
  • create social dialogue
  • create support for the systems of allocation of fishing opportunities
  • production and marketing plans
  • implement conservation measures and regional co-operation
  • limit the impact of fishing on the marine environment and adapt fishing methods to protect species
  • innovation that could conserve marine biological resources protect and restore marine biodiversity and ecosystems and inland waterways for migratory species
  • investments in aquaculture
  • projects that promote human capital and networking in aquaculture

Contact the MMO if you’re unsure whether the activity you want to fund is eligible.

Activities you can’t apply to fund

You won’t get an EMFF grant to:

  • increase the fishing capacity of your vessel or increase the ability of your vessel to find fish
  • increase the capacity of fish holds
  • build fishing vessels or import them
  • stop fishing activities temporarily or permanently, unless otherwise provided for in the EMFF regulations
  • carry out exploratory fishing
  • transfer ownership of a business
  • fund direct restocking unless explicitly provided for as a conservation measure by a European Union legal act or in the case of experimental restocking
  • fund the purchase of inland fishing vessels
  • fund the construction of lobster hatcheries

Contact the MMO if you’re unsure whether your project is eligible or ineligible.

Who can apply

You can usually apply for the scheme if you’re at least one of the following, but you should read the guidance for each individual article:

  • the owner of an EU or UK registered fishing vessel and you commercially fish from a port based in England
  • fisherwoman, spouses or legal partners
  • a producer organisation
  • a public or semi-public organisation
  • an aquaculture organisation
  • an organisation of fishermen or fisherwomen
  • involved in production, processing, marketing, distribution of fisheries and aquaculture products
  • non-governmental organisations
  • an association, including new aquaculture farmers
  • universities and research institutes
  • small, micro and medium-sized businesses (see below for definition)
  • scientific organisations working in the maritime sectors

Micro, small and medium-sized businesses

A small, micro or medium-sized business is a business which:

  • employs fewer than 250 people
  • has a turnover of less than £34,525,001 or a balance sheet total of less than £36,596,502

Contact the MMO if you’re unsure if your business qualifies.

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for an EMFF grant if you’ve been convicted of an offence that the MMO or European Union considers to be a ‘serious infringement’ or fraud.

  • a fraud conviction – excludes you from applying to the EMFF scheme
  • a serious infringement conviction – excludes you from applying in the 12 months following your conviction, this may be longer depending of the severity of the infringement.

If you think this applies to you please read the Guidance on inadmissibility and fraud for further information on the effect infringements have on your eligibility for funding.

How much is available

The amount of money you can apply for and receive depends on the type of project you are applying for. A total of around €92 million from the European Union is available to the MMO to be used for projects under the EMFF until 2020. For the specific rates available for each article, please look at the guidance note relevant to that article.

How to apply for funding

You need to read the guidance documents relevant to your project and apply online in order to get funding. Not all projects will be successful in getting funds as the scheme is competitive. Once you submit your application to us, we will consider whether to approve it or not. You can read more about the application processon the how to apply for funding page. If you are unable to complete an online application please contact the MMO.

Information about recipients of EMFF funding

The European Commission requires that information about each project which has been funded under the EMFF is published; this is called the transparency initiative.

By accepting an offer of EMFF funds high level details of your project and the funds offered will be included on this list. Every six months, this website will be updated with a list of all projects which have been offered funding. The following information will be published about each project:

  • name of the recipient of the funds
  • community fleet register identification number (if the project is linked to a fishing vessel)
  • name of the project
  • brief summary describing the project
  • start and expected completion date for the project
  • total of eligible costs and how this is funded (for example from EMFF funds or national match funds)
  • total size of the funds awarded and how the funding is made up (for example from EMFF funds or national match funds)
  • post code and country that the project is based in
  • union priority the project is related to

Contact us

European Grants Team
Marine Management Organisation
West Wing
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle Business Park
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Telephone: 0208 026 5539
Fax: 0191 376 2681

Published 18 January 2016
Last updated 16 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Text updated

  2. Notice on EMFF Funding added, suspension of applications for Article 68 (Marketing measures) and Article 69

  3. updates to text to reflect opening of scheme

  4. First published.