SFPA accused of attempting to destroy the Irish processing industry as unreasonable actions forces the Danish pelagic trawler RUTH to leave Killybegs. One of the richest men in Danish fishing, Gullak Madsen has been forced to sell his company and trawler RUTH because of the law in Denmark Photo Mooney Boats/Alan Hennigan

Gullak Madsen owner of the pelagic trawler RUTH sells up his company because of the law in Denmark. Photo: Alan Hennigan

One of the richest men in Danish fishing, Gullak Madsen has been forced to sell his fishing company and pelagic trawler because the law in Denmark does not allow any of his three daughters to take over his business.

Gullak Madsen is the owner of the 89.3-metre pelagic trawler ‘RUTH’ HG-264, which was completed and delivered by Karstensens Shipyard in late 2021, and the fishing company, Rederiet Ruth.

Under Danish law, you must be a fisherman in order to own a fishing vessel, and, unfortunately for Mr Madsen, none of his daughters qualify as fishermen, even though they are all skilled to run the fishing company.

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“It’s no secret that I would have preferred to see the next generation get the opportunity to continue running our shipping company. I have three amazing daughters who have all the skills and will to carry this business on. But they are not fishermen on deck, which is one of the requirements for becoming the owner of a fishing vessel in Denmark,” said Gullak Madsen in a press release.

Gullak Madsen believes that the special legislation on fisheries in Denmark weakens the competitiveness of the Danish pelagic fishermen compared to their North Atlantic counterparts.

“It is a pity that in Denmark in 2023 we do not have framework conditions that attract those who can and want to fish, it weakens us in competition with the rest of the world, and we discriminate against those who do not necessarily have the physique to stand on a ship’s deck. I hope that the current government will look carefully at the rules and framework conditions for our part of the fishery, so that the next generation of fishermen does not end up in the same situation as us, where you cannot continue the family business,” writes Gullak Madsen.

He dissolved the company GTM Holding and distributed the assets of DKK 852 million between two newly founded companies. 

The big fisherman Henning Kjeldsen used the same manoeuvre when he split up his shipping company Gitte Henning A/S a few years ago, after which he sold a large part of his Danish fishing quotas.

The shipping company Ruth A/S has now been taken over by the family shipping companies Beinur, Asbjørn and AB Ocean, including one of Denmark’s largest fishing vessels of 89 metres, which was built in 2021 as well as the vessel and fishing opportunities.

Gullak Madsen is 77 years old. He comes from the Faroe Islands and moved to Denmark in 1988, where he set out to buy a single fishing boat. Since then, it has grown into one of the country’s largest fishing companies and has thus laid the foundation stone for the billion-dollar fortune that Gullak Madsen has today.

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