GRIMSBY fish processors have been warned not to expect any significant increase in fish supplies from Iceland in the near future.
The warning was delivered by Jónas R Viðarsson, who is a research group leader with the Icelandic food and biotech research organisation, Matis.
He hails from a fish processing background and has been working on various sustainability projects with Humberside processors.
He spoke about the project but also delivered a message local fish merchants did not want to hear. Viðarsson said that while cod stocks were in good shape the haddock fishery was dwindling and unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future and this had led to lower quotas and higher prices.
Secondly, some of the smaller Icelandic companies supplying Grimsby Fish Market had been bought up by the large processors who, because of the economic situation, were processing more fish in Iceland rather than sending it to Grimsby for processing.
He also said that prices at the main Iceland fish market were comparable to those obtained at Grimsby, suggesting this further reduced the need to send whole fish to the Humber.
He stressed that there were opportunities for processors to buy from the Icelandic ‘viral’ market, with Russian and Norway supplies flagged up.
Despite this, Grimsby and the UK remained an important market for Icelandic fish, particularly cod and added that Russia and Norway had plenty of cod to sell to the Humber.
Mr Viðarsson also told the conference that Icelandic cod had a very low carbon footprint, especially when compared to meat such as beef, pork and lamb.
Steve Norton, chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, said that while the industry locally had been aware of this situation for a while, more cod and haddock was now coming in from Norway.