UK Fisheries Ltd claim they could be forced to sell distant-water trawler Kirkella due to the UK-Norway agreement

UK Fisheries Ltd claim they could be forced to sell distant-water trawler Kirkella due to the UK-Norway agreement

UK Fisheries Ltd has described the new fisheries deal between the UK and Norway for 2022 as “too little, too late”.

In an interview on BBC’s Look North news programme, first mate of the Kirkella, Charlie Waddy and CEO of the company, Jane Sandell spoke of the devastation of Brexit and how the new deal offers them just one week’s work.

In the UK Government’s press release they said, “The UK fishing industry will gain access to 30,000 tonnes of whitefish stocks, such as cod, haddock and hake, in the North Sea, providing a welcome boost for 2022.

“Norway will allocate the UK 6,550 tonnes of cod around Svalbard. In total, that means the UK can fish over 7,000 tonnes of cod in the arctic, estimated to be worth around £16 million. This is 1,500 tonnes more than in 2021.”

UK Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis yesterday heralded the agreement saying, “This will provide fishing opportunities for the UK fleet,” but for UK Fisheries Ltd and the workers who rely on access to Norwegian waters, they don’t agree with the Minister’s or the government’s outlook.

Before Brexit, the state-of-the-art trawler was able to catch around 10,000 tonnes of Arctic cod in Norwegian waters, but this has now shrunk to a “derisory” 500 tonnes.

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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,” Charlie told BBC Look North

He feels 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”.

uk distant-water trawler

Jane Sandell, CEO of UK Fisheries Ltd

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.”

Kirkella, which is run by Hull-based UK Fisheries Ltd is a joint venture between Samherji and Parlevliet & Van der Plas.

Ms Sandell yesterday told the Yorkshire Post, “We’re seriously going to have to think about the way ahead, about possibly selling, downsizing or the shareholders might decide to take the investment out of the UK. It’s the hardest commercial decision we will have to make – it’s been forced on us.”

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UK could lose distant-water trawler Kirkella over “derisory” 500 tonne quota

by editor time to read: 7 min