From Fjellværøy to Ansnes, from small scale to major industry
The background for today’s new HitraMat AS is the old trading post Ansnes, a busy seaport since the 1700s. Here goods such as salted and dried fish were sold and traded, and boats returned with goods that the coastal people were not self-sufficient in. Sivert settled at Ansnes in 1905. The man from the island of Fjellvær ran a fish-processing factory and traded in fish.
The crab became a commodity
The boats from Fosen came into operation in the 30s. Ansnes became a significant trading post and steamship terminal, with the grocery store SA Fjeldvær Eftf. in the center. Anton Fjeldvær began to buy live crab from fishermen, which were cooked and sold to purchasers in Trondheim. On the coast the crab had no status as a food, but there was a potential market in the major cities.
Anton´s sons collected crabs from fishermen in the region and brought them home with the boat “Ansnes.” The entire family was then engaged in the business.
In the 50’s Anton Fjeldvær began to export live crabs to Stockholm, but the crabs – packed in boxes with seaweed – proved difficult to keep alive. This export did not prosper until Fjeldvær decided to use seaplanes to transport live crabs. He loaded the pontoons on the plane with “Extra fine crabs” – a delicacy that became very popular in Stockholm.
“HitraMat ON EVERY PLATE”
Sivert, one of Anton Fjeldvær’s sons, started the company “HitraMat” on one of the piers on Ansnes. Here the fish products were made by hand. Fish cakes were baked in pans, and brought to the consumers via retailers throughout the district. The slogan was “HitraMat on every plate”. Production became more automated and streamlined, but the quality was still of the good, old-HitraMat brand. In 1988, the company’s popular “Hitra Ball” became the South Trøndelag national dish. The crab was still just a side business, and the crab season was short, from 10th of September and just a few months during the autumn.
But then came the crab
When Sivert died, Anton Fjeldvær took over as manager. Since the early 90’s, the fine edible crab from the coast of Trøndelag (also called Hitra-crab) has become the company’s main product, and will remain as the core product also in the future. In 2002 the company moved into new premises at Hitra Fiskerihaven, Europe’s most modern crab factory.