Gullak Madsen, owner of Danish pelagic vessel Ruth, has stepped away from the fishing industry, as Ruth HG-264 has been sold to a group of other pelagic operators in Hirtshals.
He came to Hirtshals in 1968 as mate on a Faroese trawler, and stayed, building up a thriving family-owned business into a leader in fresh mackerel and herring. Now in his seventies, he regrets the fact that Denmark’s particular rules are preventing Rederiet Ruth from continuing as a family operation – hence the decision to sell up.
‘It’s no secret that I would have preferred to see the next generation get the opportunity to continue running our company. I have three amazing daughters who have all the skills and will to carry this business on,’ Gullak Madsen said.
‘But they are not fishermen on deck, which is one of the requirements for being a fishing vessel owner in Denmark. This prevents opportunities for women to establish themselves in Danish fishing or to run a family business like ours. It is a shame that in Denmark in 2023 we do not have framework conditions to attract those who can and want to fish, it weakens us in competition with the rest of the world as we discriminate against those who do not necessarily have the physical stamina to work on deck. I hope that the current government will look carefully at the rules and framework conditions for our sector, so that the next generation of fishermen does not end up in the same situation as us, unable to continue the family business.’
Rederiet Ruth and its 89 metre pelagic vessel have been sold to three other Hirtshals-based companies, Beinur, Asbjørn and AB Ocean, and the acquisition means that they have significantly more opportunities at their disposal.
‘For us, after Brexit there were been two options – downgrade or to invest,’ said Fridalvur Tindskard, one of the owners of Hirtshalsrederiet Beinur.
‘We believe in the future of fishing and we believe that the market for healthy, sustainable and climate-efficient proteins will continue to grow. That is why we have went into this acquisition. It is a necessary investment in our company’s future.’
For fishing company Asbjørn, the deal also brings a new vessel as the operation of Rederiet Ruth is taken over by the Magnusen family, who have run Asbjørn since 1984. With the addition of Ruth to their fleet, the company will have two larger fishing vessels at their disposal.
‘Ruth is a beautiful ship. Gullak, the family and the people at the Karstensen yard in Skagen have created one of the world’s most modern and advanced fishing vessels,’ said Asbjørn’s Fridi Magnusen.
‘For us, Ruth means a very significant upgrade in the ability to deliver fish of the highest quality, in as safe, gentle and climate-efficient a way as possible. It is absolutely essential to be competitive on the market for pelagic fish in the North Atlantic.’