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Britain and Iceland go to war over the mackerel

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:38 AM
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Britain and Iceland go to war over the mackerel
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

The European Union could impose trade sanctions against Iceland or stop its ships from entering EU ports in an emerging "mackerel war".

In an echo of the 1970s "Cod War" when British gunboats were sent to ward off Icelandic trawlers in disputed waters, the EU has warned it will take "all necessary measures" to protect its fishing and economic interests.

The rising tension follows Iceland's unilateral decision to catch three times as much mackerel this year as the EU considers reasonable, prompting a similar move by the Danish-owned Faroe Islands. Together with the amounts traditionally taken by the EU and Norway, the quotas would exceed the sustainable catch by a third and threaten a success story in European fishing, which has been dogged by political dithering and national self-interest.

Iceland which traditionally has a reputation for good stewardship of fish insists it has the right to catch any fish it wants within its 200-mile territorial limit, established during the Cod War. The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners defended its behaviour as "legal and responsible".

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