a state-of-the-art trawler which lands one in 12 portions of the cod and haddock sold by the country’s fish and chip shops could end up tied up at the quayside in Hull in the event of a no deal Brexit, its owners have warned.
The Kirkella relies on being able to fish in the Arctic, off Greenland and Norway and in the north-east Atlantic.
Of them Norway is the most important, said UK Fisheries chief executive Jane Sandell, with access to its waters controlled through an EU negotiated deal.
She said: “On November 1 if we have No Deal, because it is an EU deal, we won’t be able to fish in Norwegian waters.”
While officials from Defra are working on an agreement, there is concern that more pressing matters – such as bare supermarket shelves – will see the company’s plight slip down the list of priorities.
Ironically if the supply was to dry up as a result of a no deal, it would be Norway and Iceland, who would benefit, by taking up the slack.
The vessel, which has two crews of 32, working seven weeks on seven weeks off, has just returned from the remote Svalbard archipelago, between mainland Norway and the North Pole, with 760 tonnes of fillets on board.
The crew includes people from Hull’s Hessle Road fishing community, like Charlie Waddy, who had worked in the industry for 50 years – having embarked on his first “pleasure trip” at the age of 10.
Come Monday the first mate will head out on the vast ship once again.
Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, who was among guests on board, said: “There’s no plan for after October 31, and that’s why the cliffedge is so damaging.
“There’s no transitional phase – it just all stops and that’s a big worry.”
The trawler has a mainly automated fishroom which sees fish go from being landed to the start of the freezing process in just 40 minutes.