October 30, 2008


Iceland's fish supply crisis averted


A potentially serious crisis which could have stopped fish supplies between Iceland and the Humber markets appear to have been avoided.


The problem was ignited when cash payments from fish selling agents and merchants to suppliers in Iceland were being held up by British clearing banks who wrongly assumed that they could not trade with the country.


The misunderstanding appears to have been the result of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's decision to freeze the UK assets of at least one Icelandic bank until savers money was paid over.


Iceland's trawler owners, who supply more than half of Britain's white fish, said that they have been taken aback by the recent banking crisis.


Sigurdur Sverisson, head of corporate communications at LIU, the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners said his members were relieved that the stalled payments between the Humber ports of Hull and Grimsby and Iceland was now unblocked.


Sverrison said, they have been going through difficulties in Iceland due to the freezing order on all transfers of payments the British government issued on October 8. Icelanders were shocked and frustrated that the British Government used their Terrorist Act to enforce this order.


They have also been working on a solution and some payments are now starting to come through but this has caused much difficulty to the Icelandic fishing companies. Some money was getting through while others were lost in transition.


Members of the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners did not think the crisis would have a long term impact on the Iceland-British fish business or its friendly relations with the Humber, but hoped things would be back to normal soon.

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