Sales agent
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The UK sales agent Atlantic Fresh plays the most important role in collating and distributing information on fish supplies.  It is the quality and regularity of this information which will be most valued by prospective buyers and will determine whether they will be required to source supply from elsewhere.  Even at times of heavy supplies, a lack of information to convey this will see merchants purchasing fish direct from other sources to ensure their own consistency of supply.  This will reduce demand at the market which in turn will affect the price attained during the auction.  Supply and demand have been found to have the greatest effect on price at the market.  This supports the requirement to keep buyers well informed of prospective supplies.

 As the link between vessel and merchant the sales agent is in a position to ensure traceability is maintained at the market.  This includes ensuring the vessel name accompanies each auction lot to maintain the link between vessels and merchants.  Further information which should be made available would be the date of capture in cases where vessels are labelling boxes at sea.  Liaison with landing crews and the markets will ensure accuracy is maintained after the fish have been graded for market.

 Informing suppliers on quality is also an important obligation of the UK agent, which the markets and the processors also play a role in; because information needs to flow both ways along the whole value chain in order to maximise efficiency.  Atlantic Fresh has been upholding this obligation for years, by sending suppliers a copy of their sales records after each auction along with a short description of the quality and market conditions.

 In an attempt to improve the quality control, Atlantic Fresh in cooperation with Matís and Seafish have initiated a quality recording scheme to assess the quality of fish on intake at the market.  The scheme was first implemented in April 2008 when Seafish adapted a quality score for the market.  After having held training courses and monitored the results, Atlantic Fresh felt confident that consistent quality control procedures had been incorporated by the end of year 2008.  Since then a quality league has been in the making, where vessels are graded on the level and consistency of their quality.  Results after the first year of deployment show that there is a statistically significant difference in quality, depending on vessels.  The quality league is intended to act as a driver towards good quality and to ensure that a degree of accountability is maintained despite the remoteness of the vessels from the market.

Obligations of the sales agent:

  • Control the supply – distribution between markets and weekdays
  • Forward information on expected supply
  • Ensure traceability
  • Ensure flow of information between processors and suppliers
  • Monitor, document and report on quality
  • Report to the Directorate of Fisheries on landed catch for quota deductions

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