Britain is said to be bracing itself for a re-run of its Cod Wars with Iceland – except this time the fish being fought over is mackerel. Yet, until recently, few were interested in a fish regarded as unclean.
As far as fishing is concerned, relations between the UK and Iceland have been as turbulent as the waters of the North Atlantic where their disputes have been played out.
So it is perhaps no surprise to see a British MEP, Conservative Struan Stevenson, calling for an EU-wide blockade of Icelandic boats – along with those from the Faroe Islands – in a row over quotas.
However, while rows in the past have been over the coveted and dwindling stocks of cod, this time the nations are clashing over mackerel.
Iceland, which landed practically no mackerel before 2006, has allocated itself a 130,000-tonne quota. The Faroes, a collection of islands 250 miles north of Scotland, has tripled its usual entitlement.
The conflict led to a tense stand off at the port of Peterhead last week, when Scottish fishermen blockaded a Faroese trawler – preventing it from landing its