Fisheries minister leaves grimsby with positive message Published: 19 March, 2010
THE UK Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies left Grimsby yesterday with a positive message about the port’s future – but also took with him a number of concerns from local fishing leaders.
He said there was no doubt that Grimsby, which processed 80 per cent of the nation’s fish, was the leading seafood centre of excellence. This position would be further strengthened by the new seafood village and plans to upgrade the fish market.Last month the government sanction almost £2-million worth of European Fisheries Fund aid for the two projects. Work is expected to get under way later this year.
His visit – the first by Mr Irranca-Davies for almost 18 months – followed the familiar route of a stop at the fish market where he met Martyn Boyers, chief executive of Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises, who gave him and up-to-date report on the modernisation plans, and Steve Norton, chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association.
Both said everyone wanted to see a speedy end to the Icesave banking dispute between the UK and Iceland because their worry was that, if allowed to fester, it could eventually have an adverse effect on vital fish supplies between Iceland and the Humber. Up to 70 per cent of the fresh fish shipped to the UK comes from Iceland, with most of the remainder brought in from the Faroe islands.
The FMA also told the Minister of their concerns over Iceland’s decision to impose a five per cent levy on whole fish exports which the Reykjavik Government may well increase to ten or 15 per cent. The merchants also want to see all fish inspections carried out at Immingham, the main port of entry for fresh fish, rather than at Grimsby which, they save will save a lost of costs and bring more trade, and Mr Irranca-Davies, said he would try to help on that issue.
Steve added: “It was a very useful meeting and the Minister went away in no doubts about Grimsby’s determination to build for the future.”
Afterwards the Minister met representatives from the catching industry and then visited the site of the seafood village. Seafood village director Peter Dalton said: “It was really good of the minister to take time out from his busy schedule to see what we are proposing. He showed a lot of interest in the project.and praised our entrepreneurial spirit.
Fellow director Gary Cadey added: “The minister was pleased to see somebody in the industry pushing a project like this forward. It will safeguard and create jobs.