NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand’s Sealord Group has acquired local fishing company, Independent Fisheries, solidifying its position as the country’s leading seafood business.

While financial terms remain undisclosed, the deal marks a significant milestone in the seafood sector, drawing parallels to the Treaty of Waitangi fisheries settlement valued at US$88.5 million.

Sealord CEO Doug Paulin hailed the acquisition as a remarkable opportunity, highlighting its rarity within the deepwater fishing industry.

He emphasized that Independent Fisheries was a perfect fit for Sealord both operationally and culturally, attributing this to the strong family-based culture instilled by the late Charles Shadbolt, the company’s founder.

“Acquisitions of this type and quality rarely come along in deepwater fishing. The business is an excellent fit for Sealord both operationally and culturally,” Paulin stated.

“Independent Fisheries has a strong family-based culture built over many years by the late Charles Shadbolt, who had a passion for looking after his people and the wider community, and I am confident that Sealord can continue this proud tradition.”

Sealord, a joint venture between Māori-owned Moana New Zealand and Japanese seafood company Nissui Corp, has now taken a significant step in strengthening its market presence.

The sale included a substantial quota of 46,000 metric tonnes, along with two owned and one chartered deepwater factory fishing vessels. Additionally, over 500 staff members and a cold storage facility are now under the Sealord banner, expanding their operational capacity and resources.

Independent Fisheries Managing Director Mark Allison expressed optimism about the acquisition, noting that the decision was made to bolster the company’s future growth prospects.

He highlighted immediate synergies that Independent Fisheries and the Sealord Group could harness both internally and externally, offering promising opportunities for existing staff, customers, and suppliers.

“There are immediate synergies that Independent Fisheries and the Sealord Group of companies can utilize both internally and externally that will provide excellent opportunities for the existing staff, customers, and suppliers to grow with the Sealord Group,” Director Allison explained.

“In practical terms, this means streamlining catch plans, logistics, and innovation, with an emphasis on loyal customer service, which has been the backbone of Independent Fisheries business since its establishment.”

Sealord’s acquisition of Independent Fisheries underscores the company’s commitment to expansion and innovation within the seafood industry.

As the largest seafood business in New Zealand, Sealord’s strategic move positions it for continued growth, ensuring its prominence in the country’s thriving seafood sector.

With the synergies and resources gained from this acquisition, Sealord is poised to lead the way in delivering exceptional seafood products to its customers while preserving the traditions and values upheld by Independent Fisheries.

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