Embattled Icelandic fishing giant Samherji has outlined its priorities for 2020 and the coming years as the company works to restore its image in the wake of the Namibian cash for quotas scandal.
Over time the company has set itself the goals of renewing its fleet of vessels, lowering its carbon footprint and is seeking better ways to handle fish and run operations in a more sustainable way, interim CEO Bjorgolfur Johannsson told IntraFish.
Johannsson, who doesn't expect to stay on much beyond June as a corruption probe by Norwegian law firm Wikborg Rein related to the awarding of quotas in Namibia is carried out, cited the modernizing and the renewing of factories, better service to the market and the adoption of streamlined processes to better serve customer needs.
While Iceland's quota system is under discussion, it is also important to focus on the customer needs, the executive noted.
"Looking at salmon prices, which are very high, it is all about delivering security and quality issues," Johannsson said.
"If we look to the salmon industry, they have succeeded in delivering products on time -- and quality is always the same."
As well as the modernization of vessels and production facilities, the company wants to focus on products and production innovation in close partnership with customers.
While executives always have one eye on the global economic situation, Johannsson highlights
Brexit as a concern for the seafood industry both in terms of fish imports and negotiations on quotas in North Atlantic relating to mackerel, blue whiting and herring.
At the same time the trade war between China and the United States always has the capacity to affect demand, price and currency exchange rates, the former Icelandic Group and Icelandair boss said.
While echoing the standard industry line that there needs to be more awareness among the public on the health benefits of seafood he said the focus on lowering carbon footprints might lead to lower demand for meat, and create opportunities for seafood into the bargain.
Following the cash for quotas scandal Johannsson expects to see a greater focus on compliance in the seafood industry.
Last week Samherji itself announced new compliance and corporate governance regimes as it seeks to repair its battered image.