GRIMSBY has secured a major UK first when it comes to its famous industry.
A complete supply chain in the seafood sector has been approved by the Marine Stewardship Council, uniting three town firms.
Flatfish, working with Jubilee and Grimsby Fish Market, has ensured the entire chain of custody for North Sea plaice is now accredited, reassuring consumers and underlining excellence in Europe’s Food Town.
The Grimsby processor, a species specialist, plans to supply MSC-certified plaice to UK food service and the fish and chip industry from April.
It is the first MSC-certified plaice to enter the UK market.
Steve Stansfield, Flatfish’s managing director, said: “We are delighted to have been instrumental in securing this certificate. Flatfish has built a business on great freshness and quality, as well as having been a pioneer in sustainably sourced fish.
“The fish supplied through Jubilee is of consistently great quality.
“Being the first company to supply MSC-certified plaice in the UK puts us in a great position to meet customer requirements. We continue to invest when others cut back”
Flatfish, recognised as a valuable supplier to Waitrose, takes out long-term contracts with Jubilee so is guaranteed to be the first to secure its new season MSC plaice when the season starts.
MSC certification means that the plaice can be traced back to the independently certified fishery that caught it. In this case, the plaice is caught by Danish boats landing directly into Grimsby.
Martyn Boyers, chief executive of Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises, the company behind the market, said: “In achieving this accreditation it is reward for our staff and customers who have shown commitment to the business.
“Our investment in modernisation of the fish market is already attracting additional supplies and this is vindication of the faith we have in the seafood industry.
“Grimsby Fish Market continues to embrace modern standards while maintaining traditional values. We have shown that working together can bring rewards and are pleased to be able to help Flatfish, Jubilee and their customers.”
The £1.2 million investment in the 16-year-old facility will be officially unveiled by Iceland’s new fisheries minister, Steingrimur Sigfusson, next month.
Last year, more than 16,000 tonnes of fresh fish were sold, supplies dominated by overland arrivals from the likes of Iceland and Norway, via containers brought in to the commercial ports of Grimsby and Immingham. This certification will see any plaice over and above the requirements of Flatfish entered into the daily auction.
Andy Allard, managing director of Jubilee said: “Fishing vessel operators have had bad press at times in the past, but this is an example of modern- day fishermen showing concern to reassure the consumer over sustainability.
“We are very pleased to be associated with an initiative that takes this level of care from catch to the plate.”
Toby Middleton, UK country manager for the MSC said: “I’d like to congratulate Flatfish and its partners at Jubilee and Grimsby Fish Market for their pioneering work. By bringing a major MSC-certified species into the UK market, they are opening opportunities for retailers, caterers and fish and chip shops across the country to offer their customers MSC- certified plaice.”