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Monday, February 23, 1998 Published at 07:53 GMT



Business

Grimsby nets a 'pizza' the action
image: [ Traditional filleting methods are still used in Grimsby ]
Traditional filleting methods are still used in Grimsby

The traditional English fishing port of Grimsby has become an unlikely record holder. There are now more pizzas made in the town than anywhere else in Europe - and that includes Italy.

It is part of a strategy to overcome the economic disaster faced by Grimsby after drastic reductions in the East Coast fishing fleets.


[ image: The new fish market has proved to be a success]
The new fish market has proved to be a success
After the loss of the majority of the fishing fleet in Grimsby, firms in the town had to diversify into new markets.

Food was still the core business but pizzas, processed fish, and selling fish from elsewhere has put the town back on the commercial map.

Grimsby now imports 70% of its fish from elsewhere in the country to be sold at the towns' new fish market.

Frank Flear, from the firm behind the market, Grimsby Fish Enterprises, says the town's tradition of providing quality fish has helped despite the fish not being caught locally.

"What having a facility like this market does is make people want to bring their fish here. It's a brand new building and in Grimsby we have a very strong buyer base, that's what people want."

The traditional skills of fish preparation have also helped the economic recovery.

Fish that have been filleted are worth more and when the fillets are frozen they increase in value again.

Million of pounds have been invested in fast-freezing systems and one firm even pre-cooks some fish for use by take-away restaurants.


[ image: Over 27,000 people are employed in the town's food industry]
Over 27,000 people are employed in the town's food industry
This new investment has so far paid off. Unemployment in the area has fallen and new companies are coming to the area.

One of the most surprising successes has been the manufacture of the popular Italian pizza. Thought of more as a taste of Umbria than Humberside, the town now makes over 1m pizzas a day.

Jim Cane, the managing director of McVities Prepared Foods, rejects claims that Grimsby is an odd place to make pizza and says that it has proved to be a good choice.

"We knew we had a work-force here that understood the modern food standards that the food industry requires."

In a town that was written off after the death of trawler fishing, Grimsby now employs 27,000 people in the food industry and that is likely to increase in the near future.






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