FISHING industries along the Jurassic Coast could receive an economic boost as an £800,000 fund opens for applications.

The Dorset and East Devon Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) fund has officially launched to enhance the economic growth of coastal communities from Swanage to Beer.

The money was secured by the Dorset Coast Forum and Dorset County Council following a lengthy bid process to the Marine Management Organisation for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

The newly-formed local action group will see representatives from within the industries invest the money in fishing and related aquaculture projects to boost the local economy.

Joe Miller, of Swanage and district fishermen’s association, said: "The award of the FLAG for the area will hopefully see the facilities around local harbours be brought up to date. It is clear from the work of previous FLAG’s in other areas that there are some great benefits available and I hope that the Dorset and East Devon FLAG can bring similar benefits here."

Through local consultations the needs of coastal communities have been assesses and laid out as the Local Development Strategy (LDS).

Local representatives and industry experts will make funding decisions for projects that best meet the needs set out in the LDS

Dorset County Council cabinet member for the environment Peter Finney said: "The FLAG will go a long way to assisting the local fishing communities increase their economic resilience and improve their sustainability moving forward. This fund will allow local people to be involved in projects that will enhance the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the area."

Through the LDS the FLAG also seeks to support the implementation of Common Fisheries Policy reforms.

FLAG coordinator Rhiannon Jones said: "This fund is a great opportunity for local people in the fisheries related sectors to have a say in how eligible projects could help develop the FLAG area’s economy. The FLAG board have a wealth of knowledge and experience in these sectors and with their expertise we hope to make a real difference to the fishing industry."

The fund is now open for applications from organisations, businesses and individuals.

Those wishing to apply to should visit or call 01305 224833.