Bidders eager for share of �2.4m to help boost north Norfolk fishing industry

Scores of marine-minded entrepreneurs have been eagerly applying for a share of �2.4m to kick start projects that will help keep north Norfolk's fishing industry afloat.

Since going up for grabs more than 30 bids have been made for a slice of the cash, which forms the first set of grants being made available by the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG).

The lump sum was handed over by environmental chiefs in Brussels at the end of last year and those behind FLAG said the scheme was in an 'exciting' stage as the first 'expressions of interest' for cash came flooding in.

Nigel Tompkins, project manager of the fisheries and communities engagement project - which is steering FLAG - said the invitation to bidders had been well received with many project ideas coming forward in the past three weeks.

'It's coming along quite well,' he said. 'There's a number of projects coming through that I would class as infrastructure projects and there's a number of quite innovative marketing initiatives being looked at.'

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He added: 'Most of the expressions of interest are coming from people who have got their feet firmly planted on the ground and are actively involved in the fishing industry.'

The bids are now being looked at by an eight-strong project board, which includes 'strong representation' from the fishing community, to decide how they should be progressed.

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Mr Tomkins said they would be given a green light for development into a full application, an amber light to indicate more information is required or a red light if the board does not believe the project 'brings sufficient value to the fishery to warrant the investment'.

Those that make it through to the next round will be discussed again at a FLAG board meeting later this month and are then hoped to be advanced quickly.

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