South Down MLA Sean Rogers (SDLP) has welcomed Environment Minister Mark H Durkan’s announcement today (1 January) that the community in Kilkeel will be regenerated by over £260,782 worth of major grants from the UK-wide Coastal Communities Fund.
Mr. Rogers said: “This grant will complement the strong entrepreneurial spirit within the fishing industry in Kilkeel.
“A grant of £260,782 will allow Kilkeel Development Association to press ahead with an innovative regeneration project – a lobster hatchery.
“‘The Coastal Communities Fund is designed to support the economic development of communities along our coasts, promoting regeneration and economic growth – creating sustainable jobs and safeguard existing jobs.
‘Despite the imposition of quotas the local fishing industry in Kilkeel are keen to diversify. The Minister’s announcement today will help in this process.”
The Kilkeel lobster project will produce juvenile lobsters for release into the wild to sustain the local lobster population in the longer term.
The hatchery will also provide an educational resource through which awareness and understanding of lobsters will be improved.
A partnership with Queens University, Belfast, will develop a research resource from which better practice husbandry processes will be developed for lobster development. The project will create three jobs and a further eight indirect jobs in the community, and it will contribute to the protection of 140 jobs within the inshore fisheries sector.