No-deal Brexit could have serious implications for 100 Hull fishing jobs

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 8 Nov 2018

One hundred workers in Hull’s revived fishing industry could be left “sitting on the quayside” in the event of a messy Brexit, ministers have been warned.

The huge Kirkella II trawler, operated by UK Fisheries, is landing fish into the Port of Hull for the first time in more than a decade.

Millions of frozen fish and chip portions are landed in King George Dock every four to six weeks by the 65 crew on-board the yellow vessel, with the 700 tonnes hauled in from the North Atlantic.

Company chief Jane Sandell has said previously that the Kirkella was proof that the fishing industry was “well and truly back” in Hull.

But the UK Fisheries chief executive has warned that a no-deal Brexit could put the Kirkella crew's work, as well as the on-land employment reliant on the boat, on hold.

Crashing out of the European Union without a deal on March 29, 2019, would mean Britain would leave its current fishing agreements with its European neighbours before a replacement had been agreed.

Jane Sandell, chief executive UK Fisheries

In such a scenario, UK Fisheries’ agreement with Norway to fish its waters for cod and haddock – a deal sealed via EU negotiators – would no longer be recognised.

“There are some unknowns with Brexit and whether we do have a hard Brexit or a transition period,” said Mrs Sandell.

“In the event of a hard Brexit, that has the potential to tie our vessel up – that would be in the region of 100 jobs just sitting on the quayside waiting for a decision to be made.

“That is one of the uncertainties and I know Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] has been making preparations for that, but there is definitely some uncertainty at the moment.”

Read more: British fishing fleet hits £1b turnover

Environment secretary Michael Gove has promised that the Fisheries Bill, which recently had its first reading in the House of Commons, will allow the UK to “take back control of our waters” and allow ministers in Westminster, rather than those in Brussels, to decide who can fish in British waters.

The Fisheries Bill, however, is banking on a transition period being agreed, with the UK following the EU’s common fisheries policy until 2021. But a transition arrangement would depend on a deal being settled before the Brexit deadline in four months’ time.

UK Fisheries has said previously there could be benefits for the Kirkella II and the Farnella, its fresh fish vessel which lands into Denmark, if the UK becomes an independent coastal state.

READ MORE: UK Fisheries brings Kirkella home to Hull

When negotiating future quota allocations with Norway and the Faroe Islands after Brexit, the UK will no longer have to work through the EU and will be able to enter into bilateral talks on an independent basis.

It should mean it is easier for companies like UK Fisheries to have their voice heard at the negotiating table when quota shares are being worked out.

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