Negotiators have 'golden opportunity' to guarantee bright future for Kirkella, say owners

Negotiators have a “golden opportunity” to net 25,000 tonnes of cod in Norwegian waters and guarantee a “bright future” for the crew of a Hull trawler, its owners say.

Chief executive of UK Fisheries Jane Sandell

Talks have been going on since the beginning of the year between the UK, the EU and Norway about the amount of fish which vessels like the Kirkella will be allowed to catch.

Arrangements with Norway, where it fishes for cod and haddock, lapsed post-Brexit.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the Government had reached agreement with Norway and the EU on catch limits in 2021 for six jointly-managed fish stocks in the North Sea.

The UK said it had worked with the Scottish Government and the outcome, worth £184m to the industry, represented increases in haddock and whiting, but decreases in cod, plaice, saithe and herring.

Defra said five of the six catch levels were in line with or lower than that advised by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. While the talks have now determined the “size of the pie”, still to be decided is how big a slice the UK will take.

Kirkella is about to return from a seven-week trip fishing between Svalbard and Norway, but owner UK Fisheries previously described it as a “sticking plaster” as the amount they can catch is still only a fraction of what they could do pre-Brexit.

CEO Jane Sandell said: “The trilateral agreement between the UK, the EU and Norway deals with Total Allowable Catches in the North Sea and doesn’t address what we need, which is for the UK and Norway to land a deal on Arctic cod in the Norwegian Economic Zone. Separate bilateral talks between the EU and Norway have just concluded, and we now know that

orway has 25,000 tonnes of Arctic cod that it could offer to the UK. Our negotiators now have a golden opportunity: it’s up to them to seize it and guarantee a bright future for our crews and industry.”