Fishing deadline: Panic as Norway talks collapse – trawler says chaos to hit in two weeks

Boris Johnson ‘sacrificed fishing industry’ says June Mummery

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The owner of the UK’s largest freezer trawler, Kirkella, said stalled negotiations with Norway and other non-EU nations was a “sad tale of the Government’s failure”. UK Fisheries Ltd has warned the future of its business is in jeopardy unless urgent action is taken.

They’ve demanded ministers double their efforts to secure a deal that could give them confidence in continued access to distant waters for fishing.

“The EU deal is done, but for distant-waters fishing it changes nothing.

“Without bilateral deals with Norway and others, there is no long-term viable distant-waters fishing industry in the UK,” the group said.

“We are tired of asking: we demand that the Government acts now to save our industry.”

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A temporary agreement between the UK and Norway earlier this year saw Kirkella granted a licence for a trip to Svalbard.

However, the trip is going to an end with no sign of a deal in sight for future voyages.

Pleading with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to agree a deal, UK Fisheries Ltd said: “Talks are underway with Norway that we desperately hope will provide the fishing opportunities we really need, but progress is slow and we have no licences beyond this trip.

“We can’t plan for anything beyond March, and neither can our crews or their families.”

Kirkella catches approximately eight percent of all cod and haddock sold in UK fish and chip shops.

It can freeze up to 780 tonnes of fish on each of its trips.

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“We know that our coastal partners are ready to talk.

“The Norwegians, for example, are heavily dependent on access to British waters and British markets.

“There is a smart deal waiting to be struck,” they added.

“Whatever is holding talks up, the government now needs to adopt a smart approach and quickly deliver an ambitious deal for British fishermen.

“UK Fisheries has tens of millions of pounds to invest in the future of distant-waters fishing in the North-East, but this can’t and won’t wait for much longer.”

Failing to agree access to distant-waters is just one of a number of concerns for fisheries.

The industry has accused the Government of so far letting them down with Brexit.

They say the EU trade deal fails to live up to the expectations and promises made by ministers.

They remain angry that EU fisheries have continued access to UK waters for five years while new red tape has impeded attempts to sell to the continent.

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