The UK government is being urged to ignore a ‘concerted campaign’ to strip Scottish fishermen of quota in favor of a huge foreign-owned freezer trawler operating out of a UK port.
Ian Gatt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, and Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief executive Simon Collins said lobbying by the shipowner, based in East Yorkshire, British fisheriesto secure more fish “must be resisted”.
The 266-foot trawler, Kirkella, fishes hundreds of miles off Britain’s shores – around the Arctic Sea.
With 30 crew members and automated processing, the first fish reach the freezers on board 40 minutes after being caught
Kirkella’s catch is said to be about one-twelfth of the cod and haddock supplied to Fish and chip shops in the UK.
In complicated quota swaps, the vessel has already increased its quota for Barents Sea cod – for which Scottish fishermen end up sacrificing blue whiting and saithe.
Mr Gatt said: “This vessel operates out of Hull but is mainly Dutch and Icelandic owned, largely non-British crew operated and processes its catch on board.
“In 2022, the owners already have 6,550 tonnes of Svalbard cod quota and an associated bycatch of 14%, plus 500 t of Barents Sea cod quota.
“To put that into perspective, the entire UK fleet has a cod quota this year of 5,934t, of which the Scottish fleet has 3,500t.
“And yet they still want more from the Barents Sea, paid for with Scottish quotas.”
“Scandalous” EU practice
Mr Collins added: “Fortunately the UK is now an independent coastal state and has moved away from an outrageous EU practice in which Scottish fish was sold for the sole benefit of a multinational conglomerate.
“It is imperative that there is no backtracking from ministers. In current and future discussions, we must not get to the point where the interests of a foreign company outweigh genuine British interests.
Already subscribed? Login
[Scots fishers urge ministers to resist campaign for giant trawler]