Kirkella: Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Hull’s last distant water fishing trawler as it returns to port
The ship, which returned to port on April 2, is the city’s last distant water trawler, working on Arctic cod beds and a reminder of better times for the Humber fishing industry.
It has faced tumultuous years since a disappointing post-Brexit trade deal with Norway ‘sabotaged’ the immediate future of the state-of-the-art £52million boat.
Owners UK Fisheries have admitted that Kirkella may need to be sold or moved overseas to continue as a working vessel.
As an EU member, the British trawler was able to catch around 10,000 tonnes of cod in Norwegian waters, but that figure has now fallen to a “paltry” 500 tonnes.
The Kirkella, only built in 2018, has around 60 crew, many from Hull and Grimsby.
Meet the last of Yorkshire’s distant water anglers stuck in the harbor and helpless…
During periods of uncertainty over quotas last year, the Kirkella had to remain berthed at King George Dock until agreements were finalized.
The vessel once caught up to 10% of all cod sold in UK fish and chips. There is a processing and freezing facility on board, but the fishermen earn their wages from their share of the profits from a voyage and earn nothing ashore.
Compared to the old “sidewinder” trawlers that made Hull famous in the 1960s and 1970s, the Kirkella is full of modern comforts. He has internet. a TV room, gym and cinema. In the past, cabins were shared by up to 10 men and water had to be pumped by hand into the engine room bath on some ships.
One crew member who will not return when the Kirkella sets sail again is First Lieutenant Charlie Waddy, who is retiring after more than 40 years at sea. The Cod War veteran grew up in the fishing community of Hessle Road and her father was lost in the sinking of the Arctic Viking off Flamborough Head.
Mr Waddy admitted he voted for Brexit in the hope it would deliver a better deal for the fishing industry – and now feels disappointed.