LEP Food Board member Simon Dwyer reports on a new collaboration bringing Grimsby and Reykjavik closer together.

Last week in Reykjavik two major seafood clusters in the northern hemisphere signed a memorandum of understanding to begin a ground-breaking collaboration.

The Iceland Ocean Cluster and Seafood Grimsby & Humber Cluster have agreed to work more closely together to achieve a stronger co-operative platform.

Attending the signing of the memorandum were Berta Danielsdottir, Managing Director of Icelandic Marine Cluster, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Michael Nevin, the UK’s Ambassador to Iceland.

The Iceland Ocean Cluster is a marine incubator located in Reykjavik that builds and supports a network of entrepreneurs and businesses in the marine science industries to facilitate the creation of new business, ideas and research.

More than ten start-ups have been created over the last five years, delivering valuable products for the high-value health care, skin care and nutraceutical markets.

Seafood Grimsby & Humber is a representative group established by the Grimsby Fish Merchants’ Association to focus on competitiveness. It has over 70 active processing facilities that support 5,000 jobs directly and a further 10,000-plus in the supply chain.

The main focus of the collaboration will be to foster developments between the two clusters and to develop a network between entrepreneurs using business knowhow from fisheries in Iceland and processors in Grimsby and the Humber.

The two clusters will also explore areas of mutual interest in the development of new technology for fish products and discuss Brexit and the future of Iceland-UK seafood trade relations.

This discussion began on Friday, the day after the memorandum was signed, when I represented Seafood Grimsby & Humber and spoke about Brexit and trade relations at the annual Icelandic Seafood Conference in Reykjavik.

This is a new, exciting and significant step for our organisation, and it was inspiring to see at first hand the vision and set-up of the Iceland Ocean Cluster. Their outreach into other seafood clusters complements Grimsby & the Humber, and we’re looking forward to this collaboration, particularly when it comes to partnering on developing trade post-Brexit.

Simon Dwyer is Managing Director of Seafox Management Consultants Ltd and a member of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP’s Food Board.