The company was founded by the late Howard Shadbolt in 1960 and had its beginnings as a small fish and chip shop in the Christchurch suburb of Linwood in 1956. Since that time, Independent Fisheries Limited has grown into one of New Zealand's major privately-owned fish processing companies, employing approx. 400 staff and harvesting in excess of 30,000 tonnes of fish annually.
The Woolston site has undergone several major redevelopments since those early years to keep pace with ever-increasing demands. Head Office management, marketing and administrative personnel operate on site, enabling them to work closely with the production and processing divisions to develop product ranges for national and export markets. The company has also gained ISO & HACCP accreditation and EU approval.
A 3,000 tonne coolstore opened in 1992 at the Port of Lyttelton and a 5000 metric tonne coldstore at the Woolston plant, is utilised by both the company and other users for the storage of frozen-at-sea product. Shadbolt House in Lyttelton was purchased in 1995 to accommodate the company's Fleet Department.
Sept 2023 - Deepwater fishing company Sealord has entered into an agreement to acquire privately-owned Independent Fisheries - the largest financial transaction in the seafood sector since the Sealord deal in 1992, which was part of the Maori Treaty Settlement. This transaction will make Sealord New Zealand’s biggest seafood business.
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