MEP tours Grimsby fishing industry

Richard Corbett, Member of the European Parliament representing Yorkshire and the Humber, joined Grimsby MP Melanie Onn on a tour of Grimsby’s finest fishing businesses on Monday 23 June.

Richard Corbett is a member of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, which monitors and examines current European legislation and proposes changes to the Common Fisheries Policy to better serve the whole fishing industry.

Speaking after the visit, he said:

It was fascinating to see the ins and outs of Grimsby’s formidable seafood industry, and to see how integrated the industry is into the European market. So much of what is processed here is sold across the European Union.

It’s also a pleasure to visit the EU-funded fish market, Europe’s biggest, now fully renovated and upgraded, and hear how vital our EU membership is for jobs in Grimsby.

Martyn Boyers, chief executive of Grimsby fish market, told Richard and Melanie that EU support of around a million pounds allowed the market to be upgraded to modern-day standards, meaning the market remained viable as an employer and retained a meaningful link to Grimsby’s important fishing heritage.

Cool Brand Saucy Fish was also on the menu as Icelandic Seachill’s Managing Director Simon Smith showed off the high-tech machinery and skilled filleting staff who produce the Grimsby-based meals that are set to go global as supermarkets in the USA start stocking our own Saucy Fish.

Melanie Onn said:

The Saucy Fish brand is a great product and all Grimsby based. I saw Seachill buying fish from the market this morning — it is wonderful to see local businesses support each other in this way.

Grimsby is starting to make its mark across the world for positive reasons, having food which has been traded, purchased, developed, processed and packaged in Grimsby is a huge plus and one that we should all support.

80% of the fish the country catches is exported and 80% of the fish we eat is imported, so trade is really important if we want to see the industry go from strength to strength. We currently export around £900m worth of fish products to the EU, tariff-free. Business needs certainty, for investment, job security and continued operation, and a vote to remain in Europe provides much greater certainty.

Grimsby’s newest processing-to-supermarket operation is Morrisons. Based at the Europarc it is producing bespoke goods for Morrisons stores across the UK. Goods that are processed, treated and packaged at this site are transported to seven different distribution centres. Again, Grimsby is showing that it is a central point for the country’s important food production and distribution.

Richard Corbett commented:

These facilities have been completely refitted and are incredibly hygienic. Consumers now are much more concerned about where their fish is caught, how it is caught and the cleanliness rules in the production phase. The work I have done on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy benefits the whole supply chain.

Melanie Onn thanked Rob Smith, Morrisons site manager, for the excellent fish and chip lunch (haddock of course), saying:

New businesses in Grimsby are welcome, especially when they are using the knowledge of fish and fishing that still exists in the town.

Morrisons business also shows the importance of haulage and logistics to our local economy. I have been working with the Government and business to try and tackle the shortage of HGV qualified drivers in our area and make CPC licenses more accessible.