THE Icelandic ambassador, Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson, will be in Grimsby next week in what is likely to be an important visit for the port as the UK approaches its departure from the European Union.
Simon Dwyer, of Grimsby Seafood and Humber and the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, told Fish Update: ‘He will be hosted by Seafood Grimsby and Humber during his stay. He’s obviously keen to visit the fish market and view the seafood cluster and port infrastructure.’
Although Grimsby voted overwhelmingly in the referendum to leave the EU, there has been growing concern about the impact of Brexit on the town and its fish market.
However, Grimsby buys most of its fish from Iceland and Norway, which are both outside the EU but members of EFTA (European Free Trade Association).
Other factors, such as the weakness of sterling and the strength of the Icelandic kroner, are also having an important impact on UK fish buyers. But supplies to Grimsby fish market remain strong – more than 2,500 boxes were landed today.
Jóhannesson is a highly experienced diplomat and negotiator who knows the EU well – he once served as Iceland’s ambassador to the European Union. So he will be able to offer a useful insight into what may happen when Brexit kicks in next year.
He was also permanent secretary to Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and chief negotiator in Iceland’s accession talks with the European Union.
And he has served as permanent representative to the United Nations and a number of international organisations in Geneva.