THE Icelandic ambassador to Britain made a surprise visit to the Humber Seafood Summit last night – and brought with him a message of assurance that his country’s links with the Humber remained firmly intact.
Thordur Aegir Oskarsson was in the Humber area to visit Icelandic seafood businesses, which together employ more than 2,500 local people.
But he also took the opportunity to visit the seafood summit’s pre-conference reception where the best of local seafood was on display.
The ambassador spoke to Fish Update about the developments in Iceland’s economy over the past two or three years, which had also led to changes in the way fish was being processed and marketed.
He said: ’It is true we are now processing more of our own fish, but the strong links with Grimsby and the Humber are still in place and I am confident this will continue.
‘The UK is our most important market when it comes to fish exports and I don’t see that the situation will change.’
The ambassador said Brexit and the resulting fall in the value of the pound had made fish imports to the UK more expensive, but he thought that things would even out over the medium term.
Ambassador Oskersson said Iceland’s fishing industry was currently in good shape, with excellent cod stocks. Haddock, a firm favourite with Grimsby fish merchants, remained a problem, but there were signs the stock was improving.
The summit chairman, Brian Young, a former chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation, welcomed guests with a special tribute to Steve Norton, the chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants’ Association, who retires this week after 50 years in the seafood industry.
He said it was the finale to a distinguished career. Young also revealed that work on the next Seafish corporate plan was now underway.
Thórdur Aegir Óskarsson (left) speaks with the retiring chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants’ Association Steve Norton at the Humber Seafood Summit evening reception. Picture: Dave Moss