Could no-deal Brexit net Norway a big portion of UK fish and chip market?

  • Michael Billington reports

The crew of one of Hull's last remaining fishing vessels has called for urgent government intervention to safeguard its right to trawl Norway's waters.

The owner of the Kirkella says a failure to strike an agreement with the Scandinavian country before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 could put around 100 jobs at risk in Hull alone.

Under arrangements secured through Britain's membership of the EU, the trawler currently has access to Norwegian territory.

But its right to fish those seas is about to run out and ministers will need to reach a new deal directly with the Norwegian government to allow it to continue.

Jane Sandell, chief executive of UK Fisheries, said the company supplied "between eight and 12% of the fish that goes into fish and chip shops".

She said failure to get a deal could mean Norway taking that business instead.

She said: "The impact across the economy is absolutely huge and the really sad thing is that if we can't put that fish into the fish and chip shops it would probably be Norwegian fish that goes in instead, so ironically we can't fish in Norwegian waters but they can still access our markets and actually take our niche within the market."

The Kirkella crew has written to the Prime Minister - asking him to intervene.

Martyn Boyers, chief executive of Grimsby fish market, said there was widespread concern for their livelihoods.

He said: "At the moment they're panicking, because some of these guys have got six children, four children, and they're all worried about their jobs, and these kids really want to work and I mean they're all scared of their jobs at the moment."