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Sealord confirms purchase of Independent Fisheries

2 min read

Sealord entered into an agreement to buy the Christchurch-based business last year. Photo: Sealord

Fishing company Sealord has confirmed its purchase of Independent Fisheries, following clearance from the Commerce Commission and consent from the Overseas Investment Office.

Sealord entered into an agreement to buy the Christchurch-based business last year.

The company said it is the largest financial transaction in the seafood sector since the Sealord deal in 1992 as part of the Māori Fisheries Settlement and would make Sealord New Zealand’s biggest seafood business based on revenue.

The acquisition includes approximately 46,000 metric tonnes of quota, one chartered and two owned deepwater factory fishing vessels, more than 500 vessel crew and staff, and a cold storage facility.

Sealord board chair Jamie Tuuta said the deal places Māori at the forefront of fisheries in New Zealand.

“Along with the recent acquisition by our 50% shareholder Moana New Zealand of Sanford’s Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) for much of its quota of North Island inshore species, this purchase of Independent Fisheries affirms Māori as major players in New Zealand’s fishing industry.

“Māori have a strong affinity with the moana, kaimoana, and fishing. The fisheries settlement allocating iwi ownership of quota, including through the purchase of 50% of Sealord, underpins that cultural value system. This transaction grows iwi quota ownership, enhancing our strong connection with the moana in Aotearoa.”

Sealord is an inter-generational fishing company, and the purchase of Independent Fisheries further cements this position for the long-term, Tuuta added.

Established in 1961, in Nelson, Sealord is equally owned by Māori through Moana New Zealand and global seafood company Nissui Corporation.

Independent Fisheries had its humble beginnings as a small fish and chip shop in the Christchurch suburb of Linwood, founded by Howard Shadbold in 1956. Since then, under the management of the late Charles Shadbolt (Howard’s son) and Mark Allison, Independent Fisheries has grown into one of New Zealand’s major privately-owned fishing businesses, with the fourth largest deepwater quota package in New Zealand. Within the Sealord Group, Independent Fisheries will continue to be operated by its current employees.

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