UK DISTANT WATER OPERATOR FEARS FOR THE FUTURE
UK distant water operator fears for the future. The owners of the UK’s biggest trawler have described a new government deal to win back fishing rights following Brexit as “too little, too late”, reports the BBC.
Hull-based Kirkella has been mothballed since December 2020 after the UK lost the right to fish in Norwegian waters.
UK Fisheries said they were “absolutely devastated for the crew” as the new quotas offered just one week’s work. The government said the deal, announced earlier, struck a “strong balance” for the UK and Norwegian fleets.
The fishing access will see fleets from both countries be able to fish up to 30,000 tonnes of cod, haddock and hake in respective waters in the North Sea, the government stated.
Kirkella has been moored for a year at Hull Docks with the crew unable to work while post-Brexit negotiations have been ongoing.
The self-employed, 30-strong crew of the 81m (266ft) freezer trawler were paid per trip and have been “sold down the road”, according to first mate Charlie Waddy. “I feel for the men,” he said. “Their lives have been fishing since they left school. All they wanted to do was come fishing. They loved the job.”
Mr Waddy said he felt the government had encouraged fishermen to back Brexit, but he was now worried for the future of the industry.
Jane Sandell from UK Fisheries, which claimed Kirkella supplied between 8-12% of all fish sold in UK fish and chip shops, said the latest deal had left the company “more than disappointed”. She believed the new fishing deal offered just one week’s work for the Hull-based crew. “We’re absolutely devastated for the crew. The government was fully aware of what we need to operate a viable business and frankly these kind words were just platitudes.”
The government said the deal would see UK fishing vessels be allowed to fish more than 7,000 tonnes of cod in the arctic – an increase of 1,500 tonnes compared with 2021.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said the arrangements ensured a strong balance, that would benefit the fishing industry and “the protection of the marine environment”.