Grimsby trade mission to head for Iceland –

Grimsby trade mission to head for Iceland Published:  15 August, 2011

A NEW initiative to increase trade between Grimsby and Iceland is due to get underway next month. A business delegation from the port will be flying into the capital Reykjavik in mid-September to continue the centuries old links between the two centres.

One aim is to persuade Iceland to send more fish to Grimsby which has the largest concentration of seafood processing in Europe. It is also hoped to open up new export opportunities for companies in North East Lincolnshire, particularly those in the food and fishing sectors.

Grimsby’s business and cultural association with Iceland have always been close and go back hundreds of years. One 12th century chronicler makes mention of a lone Grimsby fisherman sailing to the island in the 12th century, although it does not say if he  made it back.

The 21st century visitors will be meeting with the Icelandic Fisheries Minister Jon Bjarnason to discuss new opportunities. Iceland’s fishing industry is currently the focus of a major debate inside the country with controversial proposals to change the way quotas are allocated to different companies.

In order to increase employment, there are also calls to process more fish in Icelandic factories rather than export it whole.The delegation will be led by Wynne Griffiths, chairman of the Humber Seafood Institute. It will include businesses from the seafood cluster, the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, Grimsby Fish Market, and people from shipping, logistics, cold storage and packaging.

Simon Dwyer from the local trade corridor and who is co-ordinating  the arrangements, said: “So far we have between ten and a dozen businesses on the trip, but we are expecting more to join. This visit is a follow up to the successful trade mission to Reykjavik last Spring when we met the UK Ambassador and Icelandic fisheries and economic ministers.

He added: “We aim to bring a message from the Grimsby seafood cluster of the importance of trade links with Iceland especially with seafood, and how these links significantly impact our economies when volumes of seafood rise and fall as well as, creating the awareness and opportunity for new trade channels such as exports to Iceland of local produce and products.”