The UK government’s failure to secure an agreement with Norway that would have allowed the British distant-waters fleet to keep working is set to cost hundreds of Humberside jobs, according to Jane Sandell, CEO of trawler operator UK Fisheries.
The company states that the UK government, instead of delivering a Brexit Bonus, has succeeded in sinking British distant waters fisheries. The UK has no rights to fish in Norwegian sub-Arctic waters in 2021.
“This is a very black day for Britain. George Eustice owes our crews and the Humberside region an explanation as to why Defra was unable even to maintain the rights we have had to fish in Norwegian waters for decades,” she said, commenting that the boasts of a ‘Brexit Bonus’ have turned into a disaster.
“In consequence, there will be no British-caught Arctic cod sold through chippies for our national dish – it will all be imported from the Norwegians, who will continue to sell their fish products to the UK tariff-free while we are excluded from these waters. Quite simply, this is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.”
The board of UK Fisheries will now meet to decide what presence it can have in Hull with no viable fishing opportunities on its traditional grounds. UK Fisheries has invested approximately £180m over the past 20 years in the Humberside fishing industry, and had planned further investment of up to £100m.
She pointed out that British politicians have failed to land a single bilateral deal with any of its traditional partners around the North Atlantic – The Faroes, Greenland, Iceland and now Norway.
UK Fisheries employed approximately a hundred crew in the economically-deprived Hull region, and supported many hundreds more jobs with suppliers and in downstream industries.
“The UK wanted to be an independent coastal state, but the only beneficiaries of Brexit will turn out to be a handful of Scottish pelagic fishing barons,” Jane Sandell said.
“Everyone else – including much of the UK domestic fleet and the people who work in it, will lose out.”