World's first organic cod farm battles to stay afloat
Intensive negotiations are going on to try to save the world's first organic cod farm, based on the Shetland Islands, which has hit a funding crisis and gone into administration.
The No Catch group has provided a double dose of hope with its operations, offering a potential answer to the widespread overfishing of wild cod, which is leading to drastically falling stocks of the fish, while providing 130 jobs in an area where new jobs are scarce.
But both are at risk, after the company failed to find new funding to meet an estimated £40m of debt, and administrators moved in.
No Catch, formerly a fish farm run by Johnson Brothers at Vidlin on Shetland's east coast, was transformed after it was taken over by colourful Scottish entrepreneur Karol Rzepkowski.
Mr Rzepkowski invested heavily in the business and obtained organic status for his farmed cod, not least by procuring their feed from natural sources. The result, he said, was "the world's first truly sustainable, organic cod farm" and he quickly attracted attention with what was seen as a revolution in aquaculture. His product gained an international reputation.
Now it hangs in the balance after Daniel Smith and Robert Caven, partners in the corporate-recovery firm Grant Thornton, were appointed joint administrators of the company this week.
Mr Smith said management and shareholders had underestimated the start-up funding required to maintain the business while it built up a stock of mature fish because farmed cod take more than three years to reach marketable size.
It has started to produce sales, but it is not producing enough to cover its costs – although 3,600 tonnes of cod could be harvested later this year, with a market value of £12m. In effect, it has lots of assets but not enough cash.
The company is still trading, and the administrators are actively seeking other investors prepared to take it over, as it is considered to have a good future if new funding can be found.
Saviour of the Isle of Arran's lobster population wins £117,000 'environmental Oscar'
Lynx to be reintroduced into wild in Britain after a 1,300-year absence
When did it all start to go downhill for mountain biking?
Have you heard 'the hum'? Mystery of Earth's low droning noise could now be solved
Nazi super cows: British farmer forced to destroy half his murderous herd of bio-engineered Heck cows after they try to kill staff
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
- 4 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...
£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...