Hull MPs call on government to protect future of super trawler Kirkella

Watch: Video report by Jonathan Brown

Two Hull MPs have called on the Government to take action to protect the future of the Kirkella super trawler.

The £52 million super trawler would normally be casting its nets off the Norwegian coast at this time of year - processing hundreds of tonnes of cod and haddock every few weeks.

But just three years after its grand unveiling - it is marooned in a Norwegian dockyard - manned by just a handful of its 100 crew members - among them, Dylan Jackson who is, a fourth generation trawlerman.

The Kirkella returned to the Humber from its last trip to Norwegian waters in December - but when the Brexit transition period ended, so did the rights of UK vessels to fish there.

Earlier this year, as talks over access to Norway's fishing waters floundered - the trawler was left to head to less fertile areas further north - amid fears it could be next year before tensions thaw.

Jane Sandell, Chief Executive of UK Fisheries said:"We can't have many years like this. 40 percent of fishing opportunities is simply not sustainable but at the moment there is no security whatsoever."

Those questions over the future of the Kirkella - which supplies up to 12 percent of all fish sold in UK chip shops - prompted an urgent meeting today between the fishing minister Victoria Prentice and two of Hull's MPs.

 Emma  Hardy MP Lab, Hull West & Hessle said:"What we want to see is them making those strives and making those meetings right now to see if anything can be salvaged from the rest of this year."

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement that a fair offer was put to Norway on access to UK waters and the exchange of fishing quotas, which was not taken up by the Norwegians.

"We have always been clear that we will only strike agreements if they are balanced and in the interests of the UK fishing industry, unlike previous EU arrangements which were highly imbalanced and not in the UK's overall interests" 

Those plotting the course ahead for the Kirkella say without decisive action Hull's economy will take another blow - while the fishing industry and those within it could be cut adrift.