Anglesey Aquaculture Ltd, the only producer of sea bass in the United Kingdom, today hailed its first year of business as an overwhelming success.
A year ago, the company, which at the time was called Selonda UK Ltd., faced a very uncertain future. Then, on 5 January 2012, Tethys Ocean B.V. (Tethys Ocean), the aquaculture division of Linnaeus Capital partners B.V. (Linnaeus) acquired the assets and business of Selonda UK, which went into administration on 4 January 2012. On completion of the deal, the company was renamed Anglesey Aquaculture Ltd.
Tethys Ocean is a significant investor in land-based recirculation fish farm technology. Its portfolio includes the Israel-based company Grow Fish Anywhere (www.GrowFishAnywhere.com), and its decision to acquire the Anglesey company was seen as further evidence of its strong belief that land-based recirculation farms can be commercially successful with the correct investment.
John Watters, Managing Director of Anglesey Aquaculture, says: “We have received incredible support from the new owners this year. Right from the start it was clear that Tethys Ocean and Linnaeus understood and believed in the unique nature of this special operation and were fully-prepared to give their long-term support to it.”
Produced exclusively at Anglesey Aquaculture’s state-of-the-art recirculation fish farm in Anglesey, North Wales, the branded “Anglesey Sea Bass” has this year become a highly sought after product in the restaurant, catering and retail trades. Much of this success is attributed to the company’s eagerness to introduce the fish and the brand name to buyers at the seafood industry’s biggest two international trade shows, the International Boston Seafood Show (IBSS), held from 11-13 March at the Boston Convention Centre, and the European Seafood Exposition (ESE), staged in Brussels, Belgium, from 24-26 April.
“At both Boston and Brussels, our bass attracted a lot of interest from buyers. They all wanted to hear our story: about our highly sophisticated production techniques, our sustainability and environmental commitments, as well as our special location in North Wales,” says John Watters.
“It was clear from discussions at these events that Mediterranean sea bass is quickly growing in consumer popularity around the world and that the demand is particularly high for premium-quality fresh products, such as our fish. As a result, we have entered into a number of new and exciting overseas supply contracts.”
In the UK, which will always be the core market for Anglesey Sea Bass, Anglesey Aquaculture has this year embarked upon a series of high-profile agreements with some carefully-selected retailers and restaurateurs.
One of the most recent restaurant supply contracts was with the Japanese chain Feng Sushi, which in September chose to champion Anglesey Sea Bass on its menus. Feng Sushi, which comprises eight London restaurants, a thriving takeaway and delivery service, and a sushi master class at the Billingsgate Seafood School, is a business built on serving high-quality dishes that showcase seasonal and sustainable produce. Current holder of The Sustainable City Award in the Sustainable Food Category, all of the restaurant chain’s fish and shellfish are sourced from sustainable suppliers and from within the UK where possible.
John Watters calls the listing at Feng Sushi a perfect fit. “Not only does Feng Sushi appreciate the high quality and freshness of our fish, but as a business that has embraced and been commended for its stance on sustainability, it appreciates the groundbreaking initiatives that we have introduced at our farm.”
Looking ahead, and under the guidance of Tethys Ocean, Anglesey Aquaculture plans to develop and expand its production capacity, and eventually move into processing and value-added activities.
“We are delighted with how we progressed as a business this year; it’s been a fantastic opening chapter for Anglesey Sea Bass. But there is no room for complacency in this industry, there is so much more that we want to do and the team in North Wales is hugely excited about our ambitious plans for 2013. We anticipate making some important announcements regarding some of these projects in the very near future,” says John Watters.
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