In a bid to strengthen their overall positions within the fishing industry, the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation (ANIFPO) and the Fleetwood Fish Producers’ Organisation (FFPO) have entered into a business partnership, reports Pauric Gallagher.

Above: Alan McCulla.

This merger is a first for two UK POs and is seen as a move that will help maximise the value of catches while reducing overhead costs for both organisations.

Effective immediately, the two POs will manage their annual quota allocations in unison and will jointly share representation for their respective members at national and European level. The partnership will be headed by ANIFPO’s CEO Alan McCulla OBE, with support from new and existing team members in the two POs.

Following the partnership agreement, Chris Neve, chairman of the Fleetwood Fish Producers’ Organisation said: “This is an exciting development for our respective memberships, which we know will enhance the opportunities for everyone involved. Historically, Fleetwood has been a hub for the UK’s fishing industry, particularly on the west coast of England, and as we progress this initiative the goal will be to maintain Fleetwood’s long association with the fishing industry, as well as build upon the new relationships across the Irish Sea and beyond that this partnership presents.”

Trevor Annett, chairman of the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation said: “Both POs have a diverse membership. Nevertheless, we share similar challenges and opportunities, particularly as Brexit develops. ANIFPO’s mantra is clear; to return the maximum possible benefit from harvesting the seas to our members, which means maximising the value of catches and reducing overhead costs such as quota rental prices. This is a goal I know is shared by all the members of the Fleetwood FPO, whom I am looking forward to working with.”

Alan McCulla said, “I am delighted that the boards of the two POs have agreed to this partnership. The fusion of two UK POs will be a first. Our quota allocations are complementary, the challenges our memberships face are the same, so all around it is a natural progression to make.”

He added, “Sea-Source is the marketing arm of the ANIFPO, charged with developing and maximising the value of members’ landings and we are looking forward to teaming up with Hooktone, which is a critical part of the Fleetwood FPO. Hooktone is expanding. It offers unrivalled access to, and experience in, the important Spanish market, which overall means increasing the supply of fish and shellfish. Working with Hooktone, Sea-Source will be seeking to access additional supplies throughout the island of Ireland, as well as offering all of the traditional services to vessels landing here.”

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