New England Seafood International nets grant to help complete processing expansion

New England Seafood International CEO David Aherne

New England Seafood International (NESI) is reportedly closing in on completing a major expansion of its processing operations in Grimsby, United Kingdom, partially in thanks to a GBP 3.8 million (USD 4.8 million, EUR 4.4 million) grant.

The grant, given to the company via the U.K. Seafood Fund, will help the company double its footprint in Grimsby’s “Europarc,” BusinessLive reported. The grant, it said, will help cover refurbishment, processing equipment, and the installation of a new refrigeration plant at the site.

“It is invaluable,” NESI CEO David Aherne said. “We know we are operating in a tough climate, given all the various cost and inflationary pressures that all have faced. While we are confident in the future for fish, Grimsby and what we are doing, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we are at the level we are doing it, without the award we have been able to secure. It allows us to be more rapid with what we were doing over a longer period of time.”

The grant, he told the publication, will help the company expand its presence in Grimsby faster than it initially anticipated, after a period of growth that Aherne admits was already ahead of what the company expected.

NESI was acquired in 2020 by Juneau, Alaska, U.S.A.-based Sealaska. NESI Founder Fred Stroyan stayed on as a minority owner and a member of the company’s board, and is also the namesake of the company’s “Fish Said Fred” consumer-facing retail brand.

As the company’s processing operations get updated and expanded, the Fish Said Fred brand has undergone a recent facelift of its own. In late March, NESI announced that it launched an entirely new line of packaging for its products, which hit stores across the U.K. in April 2023.

“Every product features new quick, tasty and family-friendly recipes with QR codes linking to our online recipe hub so you can follow along at home,” the company said in a social media post promoting the launch.

Aherne said the grant and the support of local ministers of parliament for its Grimsby location – which it moved to after acquiring seafood processor Albert Darnell in 2016 – has solidified its roots in the region, which along with nearby Humber is considered the seafood processing capital of England.

“It feels like there’s a shared determination to keep this part of the market growing,” Aherne told BusinessLive.  

Photo courtesy of David Aherne/LinkedIn


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