The landing of 900t of frozen-at-sea herring into Hull’s Alexandra Dock by sisterships Wiron 5 and Wiron 6 signals the start of a long-term relationship with the port, says vessel owner North Atlantic Fishing Company (NAFC), reports Andy Read.

Managing director Phil Haslam, who moved to NAFC from the Marine Management Organisation in 2021, told Fishing News: “We consider our home port to be Hull, so will be looking to form partnerships to make regular landings and to continue our long-term commitment to the Humber region.

“We currently employ over 50 UK crew, and we sponsor a maritime study course at the Hull Trinity House Maritime Academy to provide secondary school students with an awareness of fishing and the wider national maritime economy.

“This allows us to identify candidates for our cadet scheme to help develop the next generation of UK fishing crew and officers.

“It has taken us about 12 months to sort things out and make this landing possible because we have had to effectively start from scratch. It has involved everything from arranging the berths with Associated British Ports to getting the right dockside facilities in place to handle two vessels like this, and then making sure we have access to a nearby cold store.”

For one local crew member, who normally needs to fly home to Hull after landings the vessels have been making into Plymouth or the Netherlands, the prospect of regular landings into Alexandra Dock is especially welcome.

Ricky Campbell, who is based on the Wiron 5, said: “It’s great to be able to land into Hull as it means my daughter can meet me from the ship, I’m only 10 minutes from home, and I don’t have the hassle of airports and taxis.”

The frozen-at-sea herring discharged by the two sisterships has a worldwide market and is likely to be exported. West Africa is an increasingly important destination for much of the UK’s catch of small pelagics, following the imposition of sanctions in 2014 that saw the loss of markets in Russia, and subsequent difficulties in sending fish to new markets developed in Ukraine.

Whilst EU fisheries commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicˇius announced earlier this year that a range of financial support would be provided to fishing companies impacted by the disruption to Ukrainian markets, and the Faroe Islands has expanded its export operations to Russia to take advantage of the gap created by EU and UK sanctions, no similar support has been provided within the UK.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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