Multi-million pound plans to develop more sustainable fishing communities in England are now underway in six areas around the coast. The work, funded through the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) Axis 4 scheme, is being carried out by fisheries local action groups (FLAGs) which have started work in North and West Cumbria, North Norfolk, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Hastings, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Northern Devon since late autumn 2011. The groups aim to help build sustainable solutions to the challenges faced in the local fisheries sector. They are receiving a share of approximately Â£7.3 million to do this â€“ Â£3.9 million from the EFF and Â£3.4 million through the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). They will use the funding towards implementing their local development strategies and some of the ideas they have put forward include developing local brands and new markets for fish products, encouraging co-operation within the industry and working with partners, such as the inshore fisheries and conservation authorities (IFCAs), to help people learn more about the local marine environment and fishing. The North and West Cumbria FLAG, which was awarded around Â£1.35 million, was the first FLAG to launch on 22 November 2011 with an event in Whitehaven. Celia MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners said "The funding is great news for this region. We had such a positive response and support in putting this Axis 4 application together from those in the fishing industry and all who have a keen interest in seeing a sustainable fishing community for West and North Cumbria. "We are sure that the FLAG will begin to deliver a better future to all those involved in fishing along this coastline. The ambition is to add value to the fish landed and processed on this coast through better knowledge and developing the local markets. In addition weâ€™ll be supporting opportunities for diversification. We want the fishing communities to actively take part in the operation of the FLAG and would like to see as many people as possible becoming members." The launch of the North Norfolk FLAG, awarded Â£1.3 million, was celebrated on 29 November 2011 at an event in Cromer. Ivan Large, Chairman of the Wells and District Inshore Fishermenâ€™s Association and the North Norfolk Fishermenâ€™s Society, said "Local fishermen welcome the benefits that this funding will bring to North Norfolk. Our fishermen have a long tradition of hard work, producing a quality product, and have been concerned for some time about the lack of young people coming into the industry. This new funding will help ensure the future of the sector, promoting the renowned Cromer Crab and Norfolk shellfish, and I would like to thank the council for all its hard work in leading this initiative." The East Riding of Yorkshire FLAG, referred to as the 'Holderness Coast' has been awarded Â£1.15 million through the scheme. At a launch event in Bridlington on 1 December 2011, Councillor Arthur Hodgson, who is Chair of the FLAG Board, said "The allocation of this European funding to the Holderness Coast represents a major opportunity for both the fishing industry and the fishing communities locally to secure real economic improvements. "We have a very successful and sustainable fishing industry, landing a high quality product, but this is not well known. The aim of the FLAG is to build on this success and to use the industry as an economic driver to benefit the communities along the coast." The Hastings FLAG is the only group to cover one specific town. It was awarded Â£963,000 through the scheme and was launched at a breakfast event on 14 January. Councillor Peter Chowney Chair of the FLAG, said at the event "We know that the fishermen play a vital role in the local community, and our fishing industry is important both to the town and its visitors. The FLAG should help to safeguard and strengthen this industry. Our fishermen have been working the seas here for 1000 years, and I hope that this investment in local fishing should help secure this important trade for the next 1000 years." Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly FLAG, which is receiving Â£1.13 million, launched on 2 March 2012 in Looe. Paul Trebilcock, Chief Executive of Cornish Fish Producers Organisation said "The involvement of the Cornish and Scillies fishing community in shaping the FLAG means that the benefits of the fund will have a real impact locally, regardless of the size of the project." An event took place on Monday 19 March 2012 in Bideford to mark the launch of the Northern Devon FLAG, which was awarded Â£1.05 million. John Butterwith CEO of the North Devon Fishermenâ€™s Association and Chair of the FLAG said "We are delighted to receive this support in recognition of the challenges and opportunities facing Northern Devon. The programme will bring together a wide range of businesses, communities and agencies to develop local projects which make a real difference to the economy of the area." Alison Thompson, Director of Corporate Support and Governance for the MMO said "Iâ€™m pleased that through this scheme the MMO is providing support to local fishing communities, to develop and implement their own sustainable solutions to the challenges they face. The FLAG involves a wide range of representatives and we believe their combined knowledge, experience and ideas could make a real difference to the future of the local fisheries sector. This is reflected in the significant amount of funding our panel has awarded to them." Around Â£38 million investment has been made available through the EFF to help the English fishing fleet become more sustainable and profitable. The MMO effectively delivers this funding to enable the sustainable development of English fishing communities.