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Mackerel war could hurt Iceland's EU bid

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Mackerel war could hurt Iceland's EU bid

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The EU has warned Iceland’s bid to join the bloc could be damaged by an escalating ‘‘mackerel war’‘ in the northeast Atlantic.

Fishermen from Iceland and the Faroe Islands have been accused of ‘‘hoovering up’‘ the valuable fish stock in a row over quotas.

Rekyavik began accession talks with Brussels in July but now EU fishery chief Maria Damanaki said the confrontation “risks impacting negatively” on forthcoming negotiations.

The dispute has already brought cash-strapped Iceland into conflict with Britain, Ireland and Norway, who operate within EU restrictions.

Earlier this month furious fishermen at Peterhead port in Scotland prevented the Faroese vessel Jupiter from offloading its mackerel catch.

The latest row echoes the so called ‘‘cod wars’‘ of the 1970s, which saw naval vessels and British and Icelandic trawlers clash over access to the then-bountiful cod stocks.