News: MPs visit to Kirkella in Hull

07 April 2022

Labour Shadow Fisheries Minister Daniel Zeichner MP has visited Kirkella, the UK’s last ice class distant waters fishing vessel, joined by local MPs Emma Hardy (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle) and Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East)

Jane Sandell, CEO UK Fisheries, briefing (from left) Karl Turner MP, Emma Hardy MP and Daniel Zeichner MP

The visit, on April 6, comes at a crucial time for the UK’s distant fishing fleet. The government has failed the UK whitefish fleet and its claimed quota gains for 2022 amount in reality to no more than 126 tonnes of arctic cod in Norwegian waters compared to more than 6,000 tonnes in 2019. If the UK is serious about preserving the final remnant of its once-proud distant waters fleet, there are still actions it can take immediately; including deploying the UK’s trade clout to persuade the Norwegians to offer the UK fleet a sensible amount of NEZ Arctic cod (at least 6,000 tons) on top of the separate Svalbard cod, with trade as a quid pro quo in next year’s negotiations starting this autumn.

Additionally, if the UK wants to replace some of the £200m of frozen whitefish fillets imported from Russia for the UK fish & chip market, it could restore Kirkella’s quotas in negotiations with Norway and Greenland to levels it enjoyed in 2019.

Daniel Zeichner MP said:
It was a pleasure to see the Kirkella with my colleagues, local MPs Emma Hardy and Karl Turner. They have been tireless at Westminster in raising the problems that have arisen since the Government’s botched Brexit arrangements. The failure to negotiate an early deal with Norway, and then the very poor deal this year has left the Kirkella tied up for months and then only able to operate to much-reduced capacity. The Government needs to be much tougher next year and get on with arrangements with Greenland - they are badly letting Hull down and diminishing the catch that feeds our great British fish and chip shops.”

Karl Turner MP said:
“It was great to be onboard the Kirkella today to see the work the vessel does, it was impressive to hear stories from local lads who work aboard her.

Our city has a proud maritime history but the future for its distant fleet fishing looks uncertain because of the failure of the government to negotiate an adequate fish quota. The government must step up and act before it is too late.”

About Kirkella
The Hull-based Kirkella was registered in June 2018 and is 81m long. She is a state-of-the-art trawler, catching around 12 tonnes of fish per haul. With 30 crew onboard and automated processing, the first fish reach the on-board freezers 40 minutes after being caught. Aided by GPS, sensors on the nets and sophisticated control systems, modern trawling is now so precise that wastage is negligible.

Each trawl lasts between 30 minutes and six hours. The nets are hauled onboard from the stern by powerful 2,000m cable winches and the catch is electronically stunned and conveyed to the onboard factory. The fish are filleted, frozen and packaged in a continuous, highly mechanised process. The guts, skins and heads are stored separately and processed into fishmeal and used in animal feeds and as a fertiliser. Kirkella can store up to 780 tonnes of fish fillets at -28 degrees Celsius in her onboard cold store.

About UK Fisheries
UK Fisheries manages the UK’s distant waters fishing fleet.

Based in Hull, the company owns Boyd Line Ltd and Marr Fishing Vessel Management. It operates the freezer trawler Kirkella and the fresh fish trawler Farnella.

The company has invested significantly in the UK distant waters fleet, trawling sustainably in northern waters. It employs approximately 100 crew and office staff and runs an active training programme to bring on the next generation of trawlermen and women.

The company's CEO is Jane Sandell. Sir Barney White-Spunner was appointed Chair of UK Fisheries Advisory Board on 31 October 2018.

Trevor Datson
M. 07940 571323



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