The UK fishing industry reacted angrily on Friday after the government failed to reach an annual mutual access agreement with Norway in what it described as another post-Brexit blow to British fleets.
The backlash came after the Department of Agriculture announced to Defra that it was unable to reach an agreement with the Norwegian government, whose subarctic waters are a major source of cod, a fish preferred by British consumers.
Jane Sandell, the executive director of UK Fisheries, which owns the super trawler Kirkella, which catches around 10 percent of all fish sold in UK chip shops, said the failure to close a deal was a “very black day for the UK” and a “national embarrassment “.
She added: “As a result, there will be no cod caught in the UK that will be sold through chippies for our national dish. “Everything is imported by the Norwegians, who continue to sell their fish products to the UK duty free while we are excluded from these waters. Quite simply, it is a shame and a national embarrassment. “
The UK fisheries reported having invested around £ 180 million in the Humberside fishing industry over the past 20 years and investing an additional £ 100 million. The company’s giant ship, the Kirkella, typically catches around 10% of all fish sold in UK chip shops.
A spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it had always been clear that agreements would only be made “if they are balanced and in the interests of the UK fishing industry”.
“We made a fair offer to access UK waters and share fishing quotas, but we have come to the conclusion that our positions are too far apart to reach an agreement this year,” they added. “Norway is an important partner and we will continue to work with them as the year progresses.”