London, Feb 14 (EFE).- Before Brexit, the Kirkella fishing vessel was one of the crowning jewels of the United Kingdom’s fleet — the freezer trawler one provided some 10% of all the cod and haddock served in the country’s ever-popular fish and chip shops.
One of the country’s distant seas vessels, the Kirkella spends much of its time in the Arctic waters off Greenland and Norway, where the crew once managed the catch under the European Union’s deals with third-party countries. But now, following its divorce from the bloc, London is scrambling to replace those agreements.
As a result, the Kirkella barely manages to stay afloat economically, operating on a partial license to catch cod in the Barents Sea, where she has been fishing since the beginning of the month after weeks of inactivity anchored at the port in Hull, eastern England.
Trevor Datson, a spokesman for UK Fisheries, which owns the Kirkella, says the vessel can only fish a “fraction” of its normal quota off the coast of Svalbard, adding that a lack of a deal with Norway cast uncertainty over the future.
Although comprising just 0.1% percent of the UK economy, the British fishing industry, a fleet of 6,000 vessels with a total of 12,000 employees, became a key point of contention in the Brexit negotiations.
But the lack of clarity on future fishing deals with countries like Norway, which is not an EU member, has left many in the sector frustrated. EFE