Flatfish family's pride at being named Fish Processor of the Year ...again!

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 25 May 2018

GRIMSBY family seafood business Flatfish is entering its 40th year as the UK's best fish processor.

The Stirling Street giant, one of the last independent owner-operated majors in the town, reclaimed its 2016 crown at a gala dinner last night. 

Launched on a stall on the town’s pontoon in 1979, judges of the Fishing News Awards, recognised that “heavy investment in both people and the latest technology has built a processing facility that enables the company to showcase to the major retailers the highest quality fish sourced from the UK fishing fleet”.

Led by Steve Stansfield, it now occupies a purpose-built site, capable of producing 17,000 fillets an hour, with total commitment to supply chain integrity and room to grow.

Inside Flatfish's Stirling Street factory.

Mr Stansfield, joined in Aberdeen by brother Richard and son Reece, both fellow directors, said: “We are delighted, and it is testament to everybody in the business and what they are doing behind the scenes, be it forging relationships with the catching sector, pushing the Marine Stewardship Council certification or encouraging and pushing the Responsible Fishing Scheme.

“There is a lot going on, the catching sector has recognised it, so to be Processor of the Year is fantastic. To win it two years ago was special, now to get it back is amazing.” 

Mr Stansfield left school 40 years ago, and set Flatfish up the following year. It has ramped up incredibly from single stall to completely transforming the site of a bakery, then buying out neighbouring industrial units to provide expansion space.

And while the growth has been consistent, making a career for the man at the helm, there have been transformational changes in the 12 months the award reflects.

“The whole picture is changing across the UK, be it retail or the processing sector,” Mr Stansfield said of the post-Brexit position that has seen the price of fish rise due to currency impact. “There is a lot of consolidation, and a lot of it is quite rapid, and it all feels as though it is happening at once.

“It is about how you adapt, how you react to this, and we have continuously invested, pushed forward and shortened the supply chain, which we are pushing to our customer base.” 

The family trio take in Peterhead's new fish market.

It saw off competition from Lunar of Peterhead and More Seafoods of Brixham, to bring the gong home.

The category recognises “outstanding support to the commercial fishing industry in 2017,” with “evidence of the use of industry best practice, technological innovation, and excellence of service”.

Reece Stansfield on board a Peterhead trawler while up in the North East of Scotland.  

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