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Simon Smith, Seafood Grimsby & Humber (SGHA), A 2023 Year End Message

January 02, 2024

2023 has been another highly productive year for the Seafood Grimsby & Humber Alliance (SGHA), its board, and stakeholders.


Our key successes are aligned with our strategic priorities for the seafood cluster namely, skills, decarbonisation, and trade competitiveness.


Starting with trade there have been geo-political issues abroad, particularly in Ukraine, that have focused the industries' attention on new sustainable trade flows. A good example is sourcing Pangasius fish from Vietnam. In order to help protect the UK’s thriving position with this species, SGHA took the initiative to compile a voluntary ‘Code of Practice’ on the use of Pangasius in the supply chain. This publication will provide guidelines on sourcing practices and will be released in the early part of 2024.


Another trade related matter SGHA have worked on extensively with DEFRA is the introduction in 2024 of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). It’s pleasing that wild caught whitefish species are, in the main, not requiring health certificates from our main fresh fish supply routes from Iceland and Norway. SGHA brought together the competent authorities in these countries to work with us and DEFRA in understanding the complexities of the fresh fish supply chain. Seafood is a globally traded commodity, with a complex supply chain and our industry, including our customers, are constantly cognisant of many issues that impact supply patterns such as just recently, the attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea.


Our skills development and research agenda has been an exemplar for our onshore seafood processing industry. Over the past 24 months, we have worked in step with The University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing in developing programmes and research opportunities. We recently completed our Future Leaders 6 week pilot with support from Young’s Seafood, Hilton Seafoods, and New England Seafood. A cohort of 22 completed the programme and some of the participants will visit the North Atlantic Seafood Forum as part of their reward for involving themselves in the programme. Further insight on this can be found on the Made Great In Grimsby webpage new link at the bottom of the page.


Research for our sector is vitally important and the Lincoln team are working on various initiatives related to cool chain, manufacturing improvement, utilisation of co-product,s and efficiencies in the supply-chain. This work is collaborative with relationships being nurtured by SGHA in Iceland and Norway.


This year we embarked on a ‘Decarbonisation’ project in cooperation with Seafish Industry Authority. Seafish will in 2024 launch their ‘Carbon Calculator Tool’ which will demonstrate to the industry, retailers, food service companies, and other stakeholders just how sustainable seafood is as a protein. This is significant as it’s a pre-competitive joined up approach from the UK’s largest seafood processors. Following an initial workshop in the autumn, an additional workshop will take place in January ’24 whereby the tool will be showcased. In addition, it will be also showcased at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum, Bergen, in March.


We held our annual dinner in October along with a strategic workshop attended by over 50 SGHA board and sub-group members, plus representatives of the Scottish seafood processing sector and other supply-chain businesses. The dinner, held in Grimsby, was attended by over 100 people and the guest speaker Henry Dimbleby, spoke passionately about the industry and the importance of Grimsby and the Humber’s role in feeding the nation with sustainable and healthy seafood products.

Other notable events from 2023 were, the announcement of the development of a Seafood School at the Grimsby Institute Campus which SGHA will play an integral part in developing and delivering first class classes and courses within the community and for the industry. Additionally, SGHA has appointed a part-time ‘Schools Ambassador’ to act as a promoter of careers in seafood in regional schools. Our #MadeGreatInGrimsby careers programme working with CAT Zero charity and The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was again, delivered on three occasions this year with 100% attendance record throughout the 3-day programme. The DWP recognises this as an exemplar within the North East Lincolnshire community.


There are too many names and organisations to mention that have supported SGHA this year but, none of what we have achieved would be without the SGHA Executive team of Simon Dwyer supported by Julie Waites for who we’re all grateful for their energy and influence, and receive my utmost thanks for all they do.


What about 2024 ? Well, 2023 successes have led to a pipeline of opportunities for 2024. It’s clear that the strategic headway of SGHA, whether is delivering on its key priorities, influencing policy or shaping the developing innovation for the sector, is having an impact nationally and abroad. We will continue to commit and support our local community to better understand the career prospects within our region. I look forward to keeping you up to date with our successes in 2024.


Happy New Year


Simon Smith

Chairperson SGHA


29th December 2023