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.



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