The groundbreaking idea

Pefa started between Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2008. A lot has changed since then. But for this article we go futher back in time than a decade. We start where it all started.

Belgium, twenty years ago, the following dream arose: A restaurant in Italy that buys online fish in Norway. Simple. And groundbreaking. Pefa was set up by a lady who ran an auction at the beginning of the internet era. The first online fish auction took place in July 1998 in Zeebrugge. We can now hardly imagine but remote buying was brand new and scary for many people. So trading a fresh product online was complete revolutionary. With that fact, we fast forward to the end of part one: Pefa stopped because the market wasn’t ready yet. And with that, the online selling of fish stopped in 2003.

IT specialist Gijsbert Spek, who came to work in the fish industry by accident, was a very satisfied customer of Pefa on behalf of United Fish Auctions and suddenly had to do business in a different way. Because he believed so much in the online service, he eventually got several auctions together that bought Pefa, redeveloped the business idea and relaunched it. He became managing director. We are now at the end of 2008.

Pan European Fish Auctions has changed a lot since then. First, only the auction system for fish existed where buyers paid commission on their purchases. Later this was changed into a subscription. More and more data could be checked by buyers and suppliers so that better and faster action could be taken. Pefa innovated the last year even more. Additional services were designed, such as office automation for fish industry companies, to serve the entire fish industry with online services. And a 2.0 version of the auction clock has been launched which serves Pefa customers to work even easier: Pefa Auction Clock.

The number of auctions has grown significantly in the last 10 years. In the beginning Den Helder, Den Oever and IJmuiden joined the Pefa Auctions. The Swedish Stromstad was connected for two years. Later Thorsminde, Yerseke, Lauwersoog and last but not least Stockholm were added. We now have 15 affiliated auctions in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden where you can purchase from a distance. And the number of auctions is still rising.

Where transparency was the most important value at Pefa, we believe it is the best market solution, the interests have shifted in a world where attention to the environment is increasing. Sustainability and traceability have been given a much more prominent place. For example at the service Pefa Auction Clock labels are visible to customers who like to buy MSC certified fish.

After this short review, Gijsbert Spek, managing director of Pefa, about what’s coming: “We always look at the needs of the market and respond to that. In concrete terms, this means that we continue to offer services that are useful. We listen to our customers. The technique innovates at lightning speed. We add that together so that we can make fish trading easier. And we still like to do that the next 10 years! “