View: MPs: call on government to save distant-waters fishing

19 April 2021

Despite two years of campaigning to save the UK’s distant-waters fishing industry, our state-of-the-art vessel Kirkella is once again tied up in Hull, and we at UK Fisheries still have no access to the Norwegian coastal waters where our crews should be working right now.

We have provided a clear and simple negotiating roadmap to the government that would, without costing taxpayers a penny, secure us Arctic cod quota in the Norwegian zone, guarantee good jobs for our crew and financial security for their families, and bring with it further investments of up to £100m in the fishing industry in the Humberside region, on top of the £120m our owners have already invested there.

But despite cross-party support nationally as well as from local politicians in the north-east of England, and despite the simple common sense of the argument that we should make tariff-free access to our markets for the Norwegians conditional on them offering us access to their waters, the government has somehow yet to take this logical step. The UK continues to offer Norway something for nothing, and it is our crews and our industry that are suffering.

Brexit was supposed to deliver a “sea of opportunity” to British fishermen, but from Penzance to Peterhead boats are lying idle and parts of the industry are having to rely on life-support funding from Westminster and the devolved governments. It doesn’t have to be like this. We’re not asking for cash, just clear direction from policymakers that our negotiators must use all of the cards at their disposal if we are not to lose this vital, centuries-old industry for good.

We are now asking MPs of all parties to sign up to the following call to action. If you’d like to help, please get in touch at

Save our fleet!
We believe that in its trade and fisheries deals with third countries the UK Government must:

Get the best deals for the distant waters fleet in the north east and beyond
Now we are an independent coastal state the UK must negotiate quotas with third countries that are no less than we would have if we had remained in the EU – anything less is a failure. In Norway, this means agreeing at least 16.95k tonnes of Arctic cod out of the 25k tonnes set aside for third countries by Norway in its economic zone. If the Government were ambitious and secured the full 25k tonnes this would create a much-needed expansion of the UK distant waters fleet with new jobs and secure an extra £60-100m of investment in the fleet.

Deploy UK trade muscle in support of these negotiations
Now that the UK has conceded in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that trade and access to fisheries are linked, the UK must deploy its independent trade muscle to secure the best deals with Norway, Greenland and Iceland for its fishermen.

Impose tariffs if necessary
If these countries fail to provide the UK distant waters fleet with access to their waters, the UK must impose tariffs of 10 - 25 percent on their exports of fish and fisheries products to the UK to compensate for any loss of access to their waters. 

See latest Distant Fishing Scorecard


Kirkella tour
Kirkella in Hull
Kirkella on the Humber
Kirkella Port 2
Kirkella Bow 2
Kirkella Birdseye 2
Kirkella Naming Ceremony and VIP Reception
Kirkella lunch party at Cutty Sark Museum
Kirkella Great British Fish & Chips event at Greenwich
Kirkella speech by HRH The Princess Royal
Kirkella passing through Tower Bridge
Kirkella BBC News
HRH The Princess Royal names Kirkella
Kirkella cutaway animation
Sir Barney White-Spunner, UK Fisheries Ltd, Interview
Kirkella General Tour
Kirkella Factory Tour


Kirkella trawling
Kirkella on Humber
Kirkella drone footage
Kirkella drone footage
Kirkella drone footage
The Kirkella Naming celebration lunch at the Cutty Sark Museum
The Fish Fryers free fish & chip event at Cutty Sark Gardens for 2,500 locals
The City of Hull Brass Band at Cutty Sark Gardens
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board, UK Fisheries, at the Kirkella Naming celebration dinner at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Kirkella sailing upstream through Tower Bridge
Kirkella sailing downstream through Tower Bridge
HRH The Princess Royal with Graham Barney, Factory Manager, Kirkella
HRH The Princess Royal with Charlie Waddy, First Mate, on the bridge of Kirkella
HRH The Princess Royal unveiling a model of Kirkella presented by UK Fisheries to the National Maritime Museum
HRH The Princess Royal Naming Kirkella at Greenwich
HRH The Princess Royal meeting Stig Maersk, Musical Director, and players in the City of Hull Brass Band
HRH The Princess Royal making her address at the Kirkella Naming Ceremony in Greenwich
2,500 local people in Greenwich enjoying free Kirkella-caught cod & chips
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board, UK Fisheries Ltd
UK Fisheries infographic
Kirkella poster
Cutaway illustration of Kirkella
UK Fisheries Ltd logo