Ambassador makes a welcome return to Grimsby


BRITISH Ambassador to Iceland, Stuart Gill, was in town this week, meeting seafood industry leaders.

It was his third official visit to Grimsby in 18 months, and he enjoyed a dinner with officials from the public and private sector, before a tour of the fish market and the hi-tech facilities at Flatfish Ltd.

Steve Norton, chief executive of Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, is keen to establish a “special interest” for Iceland in this year’s fifth annual Humber Seafood Summit, and spoke of the importance of ensuring the area’s relationship thrives.

“The Humber, and Grimsby in particular, is still the home for Icelandic seafood,” he said, while acknowledging a greater domestic concentration on processing in Iceland was a challenge to work on when it comes to supplies.

“We had an exchange of views about trade opportunities and the importance of Iceland being a strategic partner in the continued supply of fish,” Mr Norton said.

“Lessons can be learned from Norway, a country that has been very proactive in promoting fish in Europe. It may be we have all been a little guilty of being complacent ”

Mr Norton was delighted to show Mr Gill the sophisticated seafood operations in the town, taking in a Grimsby business that has strong links with the North Atlantic.

“I have a very high regard for Flatfish,” he said. “They are a food company of quality and treat seafood as a high value protein and have invested a lot of money in new technology. It was a delight to show the ambassador what they do. They use a lot of British fish, but they still have an important relationship with Iceland, for plaice and lemon sole.”

Organised by UK Trade and Investment, a Lithuanian senior trade advisor was also part of the delegation.

Mr Gill told Mr Norton the visit “helped build a better picture to represent our interests in Iceland”.

Richard Stansfield, director at Flatfish and a member of the Seafish panel, demonstrated the great strides being taken in traceability with Flatfish Mapping technology, linking the process centre to ports and vessels, vital for data capture. He said: “The ambassador wanted to see a British factory and I think he was taken aback by the technology invested in. After Horsegate, the food industry is all about transparency and that is what we are doing. Iceland is important to us all and we continue to invest in that relationship for our mutual interests.”

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