Hull's last distant-water fishermen left fearing for their future without deal with Norway

Hull’s last remaining distant-water fishermen say they fear for their futures without a UK deal with Norway.

Kirkella laid up in Hull Docks Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The £52m Kirkella, which fishes in Hull’s traditional grounds off Norway, Greenland and northern Atlantic waters, landed into Hull earlier this month, but has since been laid up, with no certainty about when she will next sail.

Of the 100 crew, around half are from Hull and Grimsby, and many have been ringing first mate Charlie Waddy, who lives in the city, to try to find out what is going on.

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Mr Waddy, who has been fishing for 46 years, said: “They are worried. Some of these guys have three, four children - one’s got a seventh on the way.”

First mate Charlie Waddy pictured in the fish factory of the Kirkella, at Hull Docks Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Their current arrangements to fish in Norwegian waters have lapsed as a result of Brexit, and their future now depends on the outcome of separate negotiations between the UK and Norway.

A spokesman for owner UK Fisheries said: “We can’t fish without Norway’s permission. We can’t strike a deal with Norway - only the Government can do that. It is very frustrating.

“Whether or not we reach a deal with the EU, the UK Government has an “open goal” in front of it for a mutually beneficial arrangement with Norway and similarly with Greenland, Iceland and the Faroes.

“Our negotiators can land this deal – they just need the politicians to let them.

“If nothing changes then there will be no more distant water fishing from Hull and a centuries-old industry will come to an end.”

The trawler acts like a floating factory, with up to 70 tonnes of fish caught a day, processed and turned into fillets and frozen on board.

The vast majority of the catch is cod, with some haddock, and a bycatch of redfish and coley.

The men aren't paid a day rate or salary, but get a percentage of the value of the catch.