The Mackerel Wars: Europe's Fish Tiff With Iceland

Publication: Time

Author: Leo Cendrowicz


08/27/2010 - The water separating Iceland from the rest of Europe has been choppy these past few years. After Iceland's banks collapsed in 2008, the British government used anti-terrorism laws to force Reykjavik to agree to compensation for U.K. and Dutch account holders. When one of Iceland's many volcanoes spewed an ash cloud westwards in April, it grounded European air traffic for a week. Now there is a new feud between the two and this time it is about the sea itself: Iceland — along with the tiny Faroe Islands nearby — has started trawling for mackerel, a stock that Norway and the E.U. insist is over-fished.

Nonetheless, there is still money in fishing. On Aug. 25, six Scottish trawler skippers admitted to taking part in a $22 million scam to beat quotas on how many fish they could land. "[Fishing] is a multi-million dollar business," says Mike Walker, senior associate at the E.U. Marine Program of the Pew Environment Group. "As long as there is money in it, we can expect more disputes like [the one between Iceland and Europe] over the next few years."

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Read the full story, The Mackerel Wars: Europe's Fish Tiff With Iceland, on Time's Web site.


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