Newlyn-based fishing company W Stevenson & Sons appears to be ready to change hands, with its ownership set to stay in Cornwall.
Roche-based Ocean Fish, a family-owned business and one of the largest fish processors and traders in the region, which also operates its own vessels, has announced that its directors and those of W Stevenson & Sons have reached an agreement which would give Ocean Fish a controlling interest in the company.
The agreement is subject to due diligence.
‘The Lakeman and Stevenson families hold very similar views on the importance of maintaining a vibrant and prosperous fishing industry in Cornwall,’ said Ocean Fish’s managing director Leigh Genge.
‘We see this transaction as achieving a long-held ambition of bringing both families together to deliver this goal.’
The Stevenson fleet of mainly beam trawlers operating from Newlyn has been in the Stevenson family’s ownership for several generations and was at one time believed to be the largest privately-owned trawler fleet in the world. The last few years have not been an entirely easy ride for the company and while there has been speculation about its future, there is relief that it can be expected to remain in local ownership.
‘The synergies resulting from the combination of these two historic businesses will benefit the entire community of Newlyn, the Cornish fishing industry and the wider supply chain as a whole,’ said Chris Rhodes, chairman of W Stevenson & Sons.