600 400 200

1970 72 74 76 78 1980 YEAR

Fig. 12.8 Numbers of regularly employed fishermen in UK distant-water ports, 1970-80. (From Wise, 1984, p. 50.)

7. Clearly, the impacts of Iceland's unilateral extensions of its fishing jurisdiction on the British distant-water fleet were major. However, other factors had adverse impacts on the industry at various times throughout the period of conflict between 1951 and 1976: the sharp increase in oil prices as a result of the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s, the negotiations concerning UK entry into the Common Market, and the development of a common fishing policy for the European Community (Buchanan & Steel, 1977).

8. It was inevitable that NATO should be drawn into a protracted conflict between two member states (founding members at that), during the Anglo-Icelandic conflicts. Two important issues

1970 72 74 76 78 1980 YEAR

Fig. 12.8 Numbers of regularly employed fishermen in UK distant-water ports, 1970-80. (From Wise, 1984, p. 50.)

were raised with respect to NATO and the Cod Wars: (a) continued Icelandic membership in NATO, and (b) NATO's ability to deal with conflict among its members. With respect to Iceland's membership in NATO, there had always been some degree of opposition within the country to its abandonment of neutrality by signing a 1951 defense agreement with the US, and by permitting the stationing of US personnel on Icelandic soil and a US-operated NATO air base at Keflavik.

Each of the conflicts over fishing jurisdiction enabled Icelandic opponents of its involvement in NATO to raise the issue of the value of this relationship to Iceland. As a result of the first conflict in 1952, Iceland initiated trade relations with the Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany. Later, elections in 1971 put two communists in the Cabinet (one became the Minister of Fisheries) and heightened pressure for Iceland to break away from NATO. It was, however, the last Cod War in 1976 that created the biggest threat to Iceland's continued membership in NATO. The following statement succinctly sums up Icelandic thinking at the time:

We ought to tell the NATO leaders that if they do not yield to our demands in this matter of our vital interests, we will, following the recall of our ambassador and the closing of the base, withdraw from the alliance and send the American forces home. If we lose the fishery limits war, there will be little to defend here (moderate newspaper editorial, quoted in Jonsson, 1982, p. 178).

With the resolution of the last of the Anglo-Icelandic Cod Wars in mid-1977, popular Icelandic concern about continued membership in NATO faded away.

NATO's ability to cope with a serious natural resource-related issue between its members was essentially negligible. Whereas NATO did serve as a forum for the protagonists to lobby for international support for their positions, it was unable to directly affect the outcome. Within NATO, members such as Denmark, Norway and Canada sympathized with Iceland's fishing jurisdiction claims (Grondal, 1971, p. 64). In most instances, it was clear that Iceland was willing to quit the alliance while Britain, in part under US pressure, was most concerned to save it (that is, to protect the strategically important NATO North Atlantic surveillance system operating out of Keflavik). While fisheries were seen as vital to the economic as well as cultural survival of Iceland, the UK government apparently was not as concerned about the potential impact of the demise of its distant-water fleet on its national economy.

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