UK fisheries row: Iceland's shock 'declaration of war' claim over fishing ...

UK FISHERIES have been the subject of numerous international rows for decades, and tensions with Iceland came close to a "declaration of war".

PUBLISHED: 09:00, Sat, Mar 14, 2020 | UPDATED: 09:10, Sat, Mar 14, 2020

The row came in 1952 when Iceland set a new four mile limit on fishing in its waters, sparking fury from the UK. So Britain hit back with a ban on all ice fish caught in Icelandic waters, even though many in Whitehall at the time acknowledged the law was on the side of Reykjavik rather than London. Iceland's Foreign Minister Benediktsson made a surprising statement that fanned the flames of already tense relations between the UK and Icelandic figures.

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He said of the ban: “Short of a declaration of war by Great Britain he could conceive no more unfriendly act than that Her Majesty's Government should stand by while such a ban was imposed."

As highlighted in Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson's 2005 book ' Norway and the Anglo-Icelandic Cod Wars' – this move left many in Iceland fearful due to their fishing industry's dependence on the UK.

In the first nine months of 1952, over 80 percent of iced fish exports from Iceland went to Britain, making it a key trading partner it couldn't afford to lose.

Fortunately for Iceland, the Soviet Union came to their rescue by making a bid for the country's catch in exchange for oil and other goods.

UK fisheries:UK fisheries: Iceland fumed at a British ban on its landing (Image: getty)

UK fisheries:UK fisheries: Iceland has clashed with the UK on a number of occasions (Image: getty)

Even with this – as well as growing market opportunities in the US – Iceland could not shrug off the impact of the British ban and the case remained unsolved, as told by Mr Johannesson.

While this case drove a wedge between Iceland and the UK nearly 70 years ago, tensions could still erupt between

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