Deepwater fishing company Sealord is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed the acquisition of Independent Fisheries following clearance from the Commerce Commission, consent from the Overseas Investment Office, and a number of conditions having been satisfied.
This is the largest financial transaction in the seafood sector since the Sealord deal in 1992 as part of the Māori Fisheries Settlement and will make Sealord New Zealand’s biggest seafood business based on revenue.
The purchase of the Christchurch-based Independent Fisheries business includes approximately 46,000 metric tonne of quota, one chartered and two owned deepwater factory fishing vessels, 500 plus 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,” he said.
Sealord is an inter-generational fishing company, and the purchase of Independent Fisheries further cements this position for the long-term, he added.
Independent Fisheries was founded by Howard Shadbolt and had its beginnings as a small fish and chip shop in the Christchurch suburb of Linwood in 1956. Since that time and 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.