Iceland Seafood has used a fish processing facility in Grimsby since 2018 and employed almost 200 workers – but it’s now looking to shut the site down.
This one facility was responsible for around 10% of the company’s turnover, but now Iceland Seafood is going to focus on Spain and Ireland for processing instead of Grimsby.
The company said in a statement that the merger – only completed in March 2020 – meant it was “very much affected by Covid and later Brexit” when it came to “difficulties” in overall operations.
Iceland Seafood’s CEO Bjarni Armannsson said it boiled down a lack of cold storage – stemming from stockpiling to avoid any negative consequences of leaving the EU.
Then there’s the extra paperwork when importing goods, which were then affected by Covid delays too.
Armannsson said bringing in fish from south-east Asia “become more cumbersome” and that the UK market “has become more difficult post-Brexit”.
The news comes as the OECD says the UK is expected to be the worst performing economy in the G20 excluding Russia in 2023.
Fishing was also at the forefront of much debate around Brexit, especially because it provides crucial employment for people in coastal communities.
Many communities voted to leave the EU in the hope that it would revive the industry. Grimsby’s local authority, North-east Lincolnshire was one of the top 10 areas to back Leave back in 2016, with 69.9% choosing to exit the union.
Prominent Brexiteer Nigel Farage also campaigned with fishing communities in Grimsby ahead of the 2019 general election.
However, there is still hope that employees could stay in work, as Iceland Seafoods said that the site is up for sale to other companies.
“Although it has been concluded that the UK operation is not a strategic fit for Iceland Seafood anymore, the excellent facilities and strong management team in Grimsby can be a great addition to other companies in the sector,” it said.