Containerised fresh fish
Smáey VE
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The Icelandic fishing industry exports large volumes of fresh fish to the UK each year.  The vast majority of this is transported on ice, whole (head-on) gutted in containers and is therefore often referred to as ‘container fish'.  In 2010 these exports amounted to some 24 thousand tons in all, where haddock accounted for 39% of the volume and cod for 16%.  Almost the entire supply is sold at the auction markets in Hull and Grimsby, where processors buy the fish as raw material for their production.  The Icelandic container fish accounts for the mainstay of their supply, which highlights the importance of these deliveries for both the Icelandic economy and the seafood industry around Humber.  Further information on volumes, value, species and main suppliers are available here.

Container fish can be of variable quality due to the huge number of variables in operation along the supply chain.  These include the catching vessel itself, fishing in differing areas and with different levels of equipment onboard to handle and store the catch, as well as the fishing method and design of the fishing gear.  Further along the chain the type of container used for transport will affect storage temperature and the efficiency of delivering the fish to market will affect the number of days on ice which will directly influence the quality of fish on the markets.

 Due to these variables and the affect they have on the end quality of the product it is imperative that traceability is maintained and that information on the provenance of each consignment accompanies each lot in the auction hall.  However, this information is only of value if it is utilised in the correct way.  It is felt that with improved information flow both UK merchants and Icelandic skippers would benefit by increasing their knowledge and understanding of the product on its route to market.  This may include improved information on expected supplies and delivery time from vessel to market, as well as feedback on quality and prices obtained on the market.

 This website provides information about the roles and responsibilities for each link in the supply chain involved in the capture, delivery and sale of Icelandic fresh fish through Humberside fish markets.  It is recognised that each business will have its own financial drivers and constraints, although it is felt that increased awareness and understanding of each link in the supply chain will help improve business to business working, individual company performance and ultimately deliver a higher value product to market.  Each link in the supply chain will be looked at individually although overlap exists between each.

Individual links in the value chain are:

  • The fishing vessel
  • Logistics companies
  • The sales agent
  • The fish markets
  • Processors
  • Retailers and consumers

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