Calls for Government to back Grimsby's bid to aid seafood sector
A LEADING global seafood ambassador has called on the British Government to back Grimsby's bid for a massive Regional Growth Fund injection to aid the town's processing super-cluster.
After telling scores of delegates at Humber Seafood Summit how the sector was being eyed up by transatlantic investors as a huge growth industry in coming years, Jorgen Lund, managing director of the Norway-based influential North Atlantic Seafood Forum, was briefed on the application, by the Telegraph, in the company of MP Austin Mitchell.
Mr Lund, who heard how a £14 million grant could unlock a potential £61 million of private investment – in turn creating nearly 1,000 jobs – said: "This is critical. Every effort should be made to make this investment and bring in the capital from the private sector.
"The seafood sector is under- communicated here in the UK. Everything is here, in Grimsby, to make it grow.
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"If you don't do it here, the guys across the street in Boulogne (France) will do it. Growth will come, it is abundantly clear.
"Grimsby has high competencies in processing, and strong interaction with retailers. They are unique competencies that have to be preserved and built upon. This is a fantastic opportunity. It should be a first priority, it has got to be a serious industry."
Norwegian cod quotas have just been significantly lifted, a huge boost to Grimsby, with the UK one of the leading importers of the Scandinavian's key export.
And the good news kept coming at the town-hosted event, with a representative of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) underlining how a UK base is on the agenda, with huge potential for Grimsby, where 80 per cent of the nation's seafood is handled. It could see British campaigns to encourage the consumption of Norwegian fish masterminded here, with strong links already forged with Grimsby firm Seafox Management Consultants, led by Simon Dwyer.
Mr Lund, pictured, who has been to Grimsby on business annually since 2005, often two or three times a year, said: "This is one of the most important seafood clusters in the world.
"There is a lot of interest in the sector from the capital market. Seafood is one of the widest traded commodities in the world, with an annual trade of $125 billion a year. It is extremely important to capitalise on this market, because they – investors – believe in this industry and where it is going. On Wall Street they say this is a good story because they are solid drivers for growth. No one can dispute the fact that this industry is going to grow. We are talking about food for a growing population."
Fishing industry defence mounted in Grimsby, see page 12.