Ken Green Fish Merchants

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ken Green Fish Merchants's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ken Green Fish Merchants is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Partner Ken Green
Freshly caught sprats
Ken Green MBE began his life in the fishing industry in the
post-war years. After being demobilised from the armed
forces in 1954, he opened up his own fish shop. To date,
Ken has been in the industry for some 70 years and during
this time has won the esteem of colleagues, the community,
the prime minister and even the Queen. His Clacton-based
company, Ken Green Fish, specialises in smoked fish –
something performed in-house by experts – and now supplies to
both retail and wholesale customers. The company also enjoys
a particularly good relationship with the East of England Co-op
from whom they have also won recognition. Ken expands upon
his business and the journey that he and the fishing industry
took along the way.
As a youngster, I began my experience in the fishing industry with my uncle, who
had an inshore fishing vessel. It was during this time that I got a real taste of
what the fishing business was as well a real love of the business. This, however,
was briefly interrupted by National Service which saw me stationed in Dusseldorf,
Germany until I was demobbed in 1954.
Great trials and great triumphs
Upon returning home, the vessel we had operated before had become defunct. My
father and I therefore opened up a wet fish shop. This venture soon turned into
»Partner: Ken Green
»Founded in Colchester
»Services: Wholesale and retail
»Located in: Clacton-on-Sea
»No. of employees: 4
»Ken won an MBA for his
services to the fishing industry
and the nation
Ken Green Fish
Highlighting best practice
a success, and by 1957 my brothers,
Peter and Doug, had also partnered
with us. This saw the shop expand into
a four-storey, purpose-built fish shop,
kitted with a lift that could access
all floors. It was around this time,
too, that we bought a fishing boat
(that we turned into a trawler) from
In 1968, Hull’s fishing industry
experienced a big hit, known as
the ‘Hull triple trawler tragedy’.
Essentially, three local trawlers had
sunk with all but one crew members
dying, amounting to a total of 58
dead. This raised a great deal of
awareness surrounding employment
and working practices in the British
fishing industry. For this reason, in
1970, I was invited to join the Kent
and Essex Sea Fishery Committee
as a MAFF appointee to represent
fishermen. I played an active role
in this committee, becoming vice
chairman in 1981 and, in 1993,
chairman. In honour of my services
here, the KESFC named one of their
patrol boats after me – something
that I greatly appreciate to this day.
During this time, the family partnership
underwent some modifications, as
we were looking to dispose of and
buy trawlers. Some disagreements
occurred which led to a dissolution
of the partnership. Nevertheless, I
began a new venture in Wivenhoe
as a wholesale and retail merchant,
processing and marketing fresh, frozen
and smoked fish and shellfish, as well
as marketing the catchers of local
vessels. Other changes around this
time meant that my role as a fisherman
came to anend.
In 1979, moreover, I received a
letter from the then-prime minister,
Ken at his premises in
I was included
in the Queen’s
new year’s
honours list
and was
awarded the
title MBE
Margaret Thatcher. In it, I was asked
if I was willing to accept an accolade
commending me for my services to
the industry and nation. My response
meant that I was included in the
Queen’s New Year’s Honours List and
was awarded the title MBE, during
which period I also shook the Queen’s
hand. Since then, I’ve also met with
Prince Charles after being invited
to the naming ceremony of North
Western and North Wales Fishery
Committee’s new patrol boat.
Representing the fishing
Ever since, I have enthusiastically
played my role in representing the
British fishing industry that I so love.
From the local level to the highest
political level, I have done whatever
I can to ensure a healthy future for
the UK fishing community. There are,
however, limits to what I and others
like me can achieve – perhaps the
greatest of these limits being the EU.
Since being a part of their fisheries
policy, the UK fishing industry has
been not only enormously constrained
but positively damaged too. Our
exit from the EU will, I hope, be
an opportunity for a revival of the
British fishing industry. A lot of young
lads would be happy to jump on a
boat these days, but there simply
aren’t enough boats for this to be a
In addition to this political role, I now
have my own fish shop based in the
high street of Clacton-on-Sea. With
close and collaborative partnerships,
I sell fresh and smoked fish products
across East Anglia. In this regard, my
relationship with the East of England
Co-op is especially fruitful. They have
been hugely helpful in establishing my
market and were also kind enough
to award me a Lifetime Achievement
award, which also helped in expanding
my business’s profile.
A proud history, a hopeful
My wide-ranging experience in this
sector means I can draw on a long
tradition of methods to procure the
best possible quality fish. For example,
the method of smoking my company
uses is the one that was invented in
the town I was born into. The smoke
and temperature are controlled under
human guidance in such a way that
a distinctive flavour is achieved – a
methodology that distinguishes us and
that customers notice.
As we move into the future, there
will be many opportunities for the
wider industry, especially as we leave
the EU. Moreover, technological
advances will continue to take us in
new and interesting directions. One
must, however, take care to mix what
is good from the old and with what
is good from the new. I myself am,
and always will be, a fisherman at
heart and will continue to take a keen
interest in the direction the industry
takes. As far as Ken Green Fish is
concerned, I, my wife, my stepson Paul
and four other skilled and passionate
team members will continue to do
what we love doing – and that is
supplying great quality fish to the East
Anglia area.
As we move
into the future,
there will be
for the wider
especially as we
leave the EU
Ken with a local
fisherman at Brightlingsea

This article was sponsored by Ken Green Fish Merchants. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster