News: No-deal Brexit could severely damage UK Fisheries' work in Hull warns industry boss
09 September 2019
The boss of UK Fisheries has warned a no-deal Brexit could have a devastating impact on its fishing activities in the White Sea.
Jane Sandell, CEO, said leaving without a deal would remove a trade agreement which allows the firm’s state-of-the-art Kirkella trawler to fish in Norwegian waters.
The Kirkella trawler supplies around a twelfth of UK fish and chip shops with its stock, and lands its enormous catch in Hull, but a no-deal Brexit would put its 30-strong crew at risk of redundancy.
Speaking in Hull on board the Kirkella at ABP’s port, Ms Sandell said: “There is the potential for us to be severely damaged.
“The agreements we currently have with Norway to fish in its waters would disappear. On day one of a no-deal Brexit, that would be gone.
“There isn’t really an alternative for us. If we cannot fish in those waters then we will stop fishing, and we have 150 people who work at UK Fisheries.”
The Kirkella trawler fishes in waters north of Norway, in the White Sea.
The high-spec trawler acts as a floating fish factory. Fish are caught and brought onto the vessel, where they are filleted, headed and sorted into pallets by weight.
Those pallets are then stored in freezer sections at the bottom of the vessel, before being landed in Hull for distribution to fish and chip shops across the country. Despite the process being heavily automated, a crew is required to oversee and support the operation.
“It has got to be the right deal for the fishing industry,” Ms Sandell said of the current Brexit situation.
“Clearly our aspirations for the next two or three months are to be able to continue to operate in Norwegian waters.
“Our operations are dependent on work in waters outside of both of the UK and the EU. We have to get deals in place with Norway to get access to those waters.”
Ms Sandell said DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) had been working hard with UK Fisheries and other companies to prepare for the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. She admitted, however, that there is only so much planning that can be done for the eventuality.
The Brexit deadline of October 31 is fast approaching. Companies like UK Fisheries, and it’s 30-strong crew on board the Kirkella, face an anxious wait to discover the impact of the withdrawal from the EU.