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Rathlin Island boosted by Coastal Communities funding

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Ocean Veg, a Rathlin Island project, has benefitted to the tune of £71,844 from the Coastal Communities Fund managed by DOE.

The Coastal Communities Fund is designed to support the economic development of communities along our coasts. It promotes regeneration and sustains economic growth by funding projects that create new jobs as well as safeguarding existing jobs.

Ocean Veg Ireland Ltd was awarded funding to establish and operate a kelp ‘nursery’ laboratory on Rathlin Island to provide young kelp plants for growing out at sea.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “Ocean Veg Ireland Ltd, based on Rathlin Island, was awarded a grant of £71,844 to establish and operate a kelp ‘nursery’ laboratory on Rathlin Island to provide young kelp plants for growing out at sea, within a 20-acre growing site, to enhance production levels to meet increasing demand from retail, food manufacturers and restaurants across the UK. The aim of the laboratory was to also function as an educational and visitor attraction, and will work closely with further education establishments an link into other local tourism businesses.

“ I welcome the good progress Ocean Veg has made. They have installed new equipment in their kelp laboratory, employed and trained new members of staff, and hosted a number of visits from both groups and individuals. They have hosted workshops during local festivals, and have invited school groups to visit the laboratory to learn about kelp productions and aquaponics. They have publicised the project on television, radio, including the Radio 4 Food Programme and through advertisements on the Rathlin-Ballycastle ferry.

“I would urge coastal communities to identify quality projects that would benefit from this fund when it re-opens this summer. What I and DOE are about is building a better environment and a stronger economy. This will help do that.”

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