Recently the FMA CEO accepted an invitation to give a presentation to 70 delegates from various Lincolnshire WI’s. They wanted to know about seafood sustainability and the industry in general. The WI should not be overlooked, they are a powerful lobby and more importantly consumers. The presentation was well received with good questions. They now understand fish availability, what the industry is doing to prevent overfishing and the value of the industry to the economy.
If all of those 70 delegates go back to their family and friends with a simple message that fish is not under threat , you can buy with confidence, it was well worth attending.
Recently the FMA Chairman and CEO met the new fisheries minister, George Eustace, MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, who has only been in office for two weeks. We briefed him about the importance of the industry to the local economy and the significance of seafood processing to the region. We have invited him to Grimsby so he can meet industry representatives and fully understand our needs.
The meeting was arranged at short notice by Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers who is working with local businesses.
A code of practice for white fish processors, devised by the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, accredited by the Food Standards Agency will now be included on the Seafish web page dedicated to industry standards.
This will allow interested parties to choose the standard that is right for their business.
It was just over five years ago that the code, which was the brainchild of Grimsby FMA chief executive Steve Norton, was launched by the now defunct Yorkshire and Humber Seafood Group. It set out best practice at every stage of processing and the intention was that it should eventually spread out across the country.
That aim has been achieved with endorsement by the FSA. Now the code has been published in the form of a 64 page booklet by HMSO and is available for purchase nationally.
This code is now accepted as standard practice for the white fish sector from Fraserburgh to Falmouth and of course it helps to improve standards of hygiene and quality nationally. This is so important for our industry.
It includes important advice on issues such as food safety, good manufacturing practice and adherence to the latest legislation.
The processors job is not easy. This is a working document that is not only user friendly, but will add value to businesses.
The next phase is to attain EU recognition; this will be scoped into the FMA’s future development.
The FMA’s business plan, planning for the future to meet the demands of an ever changing and challenging seafood industry is now completed. The next stage is to submit projects in conjunction with strategic partners that add value to the sector.
Some, not all, see a vision with the association being more pro-active and with the right level of funding and resource (internal and or external) seizing an opportunity to drive the local seafood agenda locally, nationally and internationally.
The industry is facing a number of serious challenges, not least on issues such as security of supply, sustainability, marketing and the consumer perception of fish.
We need to:
§ Refocus to become the voice of the industry working with stakeholders and partners to establish sector influence
§ Create a marketing and promotional strategy
§ Review supply chain and assess cost reduction
§ Ensure sustainability by building on current trading relationships with Iceland and further development of the trade corridor to investigate the viability of new supply
§ Expand and promote heritage and the unique PGI status for traditionally smoked Grimsby fish
Consumer Awareness Campaign
The project to raise awareness has been successful. Recent events including a presentation at the Humber Seafood Summit in September and exhibiting at Lincoln Cathedral as part of the festival of Lincolnshire farming and produce in October have promoted traditionally smoked fish. Full details are on the website www.traditionallysmoked.co.uk including recipe ideas and a directory of suppliers.
Led by Grimsby Fish Merchants Association a host of traditional fish smokers from across the U.K. have pledged their support to raising the awareness and appreciation of traditionally smoked fish.
The recent visit to Iceland was an opportunity to underline the town's credentials to a new Icelandic administration.Organised with UK Trade and Investment and the respective embassies, it gave those at the forefront of the seafood supply chain a feel for the future, with challenges and opportunities laid bare.
There has been a significant drive towards processing as much fish as they possibly can in Iceland. They are processing more, and while whole fish is being exported they have recognised opportunities for exporting part-processed fish, fillets and portions. They have a very strong market in France, and the US, too, which is fine for Iceland, which want to serve that market. In essence, they have so much fish they are looking at best commercial opportunity for placing a supply.
There is always going to be a market for whole fish in Grimsby, and part of that process was really to re-establish the credentials with Iceland as a destination for seafood.
I was impressed by the Ocean Excellence organisation that I met. It has brought together different experts to look at the best possible way to maximise utilisation of a fish – something we can benefit from and explore collaboration opportunities across the board.
I think this is something we here in Grimsby can learn from. Uk processors recover as much flesh as possible, and what is left goes to fishmeal. While there is always demand for fishmeal, we need to explore all options, and evaluate the benefits. I can now understand why Iceland is keen on domestic processing because they can then get the added value from the fish. They have really thought about it, and I think we should work with them.
They are fisheries experts and we should never underestimate our relationship with them. There is room for collaboration for our mutual benefit.
The Seafood Village has achieved 75% occupancy and recently featured in a promotional film that was shown at the World Seafood Congress in Canada in October.
Businesses on the site include:
§ Chill Fresh Fish, a new business, is rapidly becoming established as a significant employer on the Seafood Village.
§ Cornwall Transport has invested heavily to provide a fully chilled Fish Reception area.
§ MW Seafood’s; business, is providing a service grading wholefish which is proving popular with processors wishing to refine current grades to quickly extract fillet sizes required for their business.
§ Sampac is providing packaging to local businesses and offers a first class service.
§ Offering a panoramic view of the Seafood Village and Humber Estuary, a large office is available which is ideal for a trading operation. This office is a blank canvas and is available for a rent free period of 6months in return for the occupier decorating and fitting out.
§ Processing units are available starting at £225 per week and are available on flexible terms; the tariffs for water and electricity are appreciably below those of ABP and for smaller business, shared occupancy is possible.
§ Grant funding for chillers, cold stores, door curtains etc of 40% and private funding of short term loans may be available to those wishing to establish a business or relocate – information on this can be obtained from:
Ivan Jaines-White, Commercial Manager, on 077 88 598661
Grants are available but the amounts and the criteria are forever changing.
Despite the economic doom and gloom there is still grant money available from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and other sources.
For Professional advice please contact:
Simon Dwyer or Liz Baghurst of Seafox Management Consultants Ltd.
Simon Dwyer 07866 508 194 / Liz Baghurst 07817 471 525