Are the British preparing for a new cod war? Or how Brexit is a reminder of a long-standing fishing dispute with Iceland

It was announced late last week that the British Navy plans to deploy patrol ships from 1 January 2021 to protect British waters from European fishing boats, in case the UK and the European Union fail to reach a free trade agreement by then.

Until the end of this year, EU member states will have free access to UK waters, except for the first 12 miles of coast and under certain conditions related to the fish that can be caught and their number. But the British want to regain control of their waters that are largely reserved for British fishermen. It was one of the reasons for leaving the European Union (Brexit).

At the moment, the UK and the European Union are still negotiating a trade agreement, including an agreement on fisheries. If this agreement is not reached by the end of the year, then European fishermen will not be allowed to fish in those British waters (and vice versa, of course). An area that, in some places, stretches 200 miles off the British coast.

The UK appears to have plans in place to alert European hunters to this. Marine vessels will be enabled to stop, search and seize European fishing boats if needed.

The British media immediately stirred up notorious memories at the end of last week Cod Wars Or the Cod Wars of the late 1950s, early 1960s, and 1970s: a conflict that lasted for many years between the United Kingdom and Iceland in the North Atlantic.

Watch a BBC4 documentary about the cod wars here:

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Sophie Baker

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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