It’s summer, and off the coast of Britain anglers are enjoying a blue-grey abundance of mackerel. Barbecued, smoked, or baked in cider, this firm favourite provides a seasonal guilt-free treat, certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
The future of mackerel as a healthy, sustainable fish is at stake after Iceland and the Faroe Islands unilaterally awarded themselves the lion’s share of north Atlantic stocks. Photograph: H Taillard/CorbisBut in a dispute echoing the cod wars of the 1970s, Britain and the EU are on the brink of a mackerel war with Iceland and the Faroe Islands, who have ripped up agreed quotas, unilaterally awarding themselves the lion’s share of north Atlantic stock.
UK fishermen are furious; the EU is condemnatory. Those in the industry, meanwhile, claim that the dispute puts at risk not only the future of Britain’s pelagic fishing industry, but the future of mackerel itself as a healthy, sustainable fish.