UK: Hull fishing company sold to Iceland Published: 08 February, 2006
THE last of the old Humber distant water trawler companies has been bought – by an Icelandic owned company.
The fishing business of Hull-based J. Marr Ltd was acquired in the last few days by the unlikely named company UK Fisheries, which has its headquarters in Reyjavik and is part of the expanding Samherji group.A statement said the agreement brought together the remaining Hull distant water companies under the common ownership and management of UK Fisheries Limited. And the move reflected the ongoing structural integration in the fishing industry driven by the demand for increasing competitiveness in international markets.
Nigel Atkins, Managing Director of Marr Fishing Vessel Management, who has been appointed Chairman of UK Fisheries said: “I am delighted to confirm that the businesses are to come together to provide exciting prospects for growth and development. Our aim is to retain the company’s operational base in Hull and continue to engage local skippers and crews. The intention is to make available additional funding for future investment to enable the business to respond to the needs of our customers and to be well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.”
J Marr is one of the UK’s oldest fishing companies. It was founded in 1870 by Joseph Marr to supply his fish processing business in Hull and grew into a giant of the UK distant water trawler fleet.
Its ships took part in several cod wars and in the 1960s and 1970s the company strongly opposed fishing limit expansion by Iceland, but it now regards those episodes as past history.
However, the news was greeted in Hull as a positive move because it will save jobs in the long term. Former Marr skipper Jim Williams said there was little point in turning the clock back because the cod war ended over 30 years ago.
Although a young company, Samherji hf. is among Iceland’s largest fishing enterprises. The business has undergone rapid development during the past 20 years and says it aims to strengthen its foundations by participating in as many areas of the fishing industry as possible.
Samherji´s operation is based on four main pillars of support – freezing at sea, the land-based processing of groundfish,prawn processing and the processing of pelagic fish products. During the past few years, the emphasis has been on aquaculture. It says its aim is to continue a leading position in fishing both in Iceland and overseas.
The company made a profit of over 1,00o-million Icelandic krona in the first half of 2005 on a turnover of 11,600-million krona. It also has interests in Scotland through ownership of the Onward Fishing Company.
In Iceland the company has an annual quota of 64,000 tonnes including 11.700 tonnes of cod, 4,100 tonnes of haddock and 2,400 tonnes of prawns.
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