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Brexit: Kirkella super trawler unable to fish since Brexit

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image copyrightUK Fisheries
image captionThe 2018-built Kirkella is known as a freezer trawler, meaning the catch is processed and frozen while on board

An MP has called on the prime minister to secure fishing rights for a UK super trawler which has been unable to operate since December.

The Kirkella freezer trawler, based in Hull, catches cod and haddock in sub-Arctic waters, but Brexit has left it without a fishing agreement.

Labour MP for Hull East Karl Turner said the delay in a deal was the "last nail in the coffin" for the industry.

The government said negotiations would conclude "as soon as possible".

The 81m (266ft) vessel, which has been moored in Hull since December, catches up to 2.3m fish in each week-long trip, in waters off the coasts of Norway, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Its owners, UK Fisheries, said Kirkella supplied between 8-12% of all fish sold in UK fish and chip shops and warned of an increased reliance on imports from Norway or Iceland without a distant waters agreement.

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In the letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Turner said: "The Kirkella and its crew have no licences or quotas to fish anywhere - and have no guidance as to when, if, or to what extent that might change."

media captionHull-based super-trawler Kirkella has an on-board fish factory and gym for the crew.

Jane Sandell, UK Fisheries chief executive officer, said: "Previously, fishing opportunities with countries like Norway have been negotiated through the EU, but the UK now has to negotiate in its own right.

"Because the Brexit deal took so long to get going, it means the negotiations hadn't been done, so we're now going into a fishing year without any fishing opportunities."

She added: "The big concern is the crew, we want to get these guys to sea as soon as possible so they can be earning some money and have some certainty for 2021."

A government spokesperson said: "As an independent coastal state the UK has put in place new arrangements to further influence the management of near and distant fish stocks, to best serve the interests of the British fishing industry.

"Negotiations for fishing opportunities in 2021 will be concluded as soon as possible."

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