subtopics in icelandic history
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Subtopics in Icelandic History. The Cod Wars. The U.S.’s Role in Iceland. after WWII, Iceland reached an agreement with the U.S. to allow continued military use of Keflavík (1946); servicemen had to leave in 1947 1949: Iceland joined NATO as a charter member

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the u s s role in iceland
The U.S.’s Role in Iceland
  • after WWII, Iceland reached an agreement with the U.S. to allow continued military use of Keflavík(1946); servicemen had to leave in 1947
  • 1949: Iceland joined NATO as a charter member
  • 5 May 1951: conflict in Korea led to the signing of a Defense Agreement with the U.S.; U.S. charged with protecting Iceland and neighboring areas; Iceland charged with providing the land (Keflavík)necessary to provide protection  group known as the Iceland Defense Force
  • 8 September 2006: U.S. Navy turned over Naval Air Station Keflavík to the Icelandic government, and American troops left
the parts that aren t part of the war but were still conflicts about the same issue
The Parts That Aren’t Part of the War (but were still conflicts about the same issue)

1893 conflict

Norwegian Limit

  • After WWII, the Norwegians began enforcing a 4 mile limit they had claimed in the 1930s
  • The British government took the case before the International Court of Justice after British trawlers were arrested
  • The court ruled in favor of the Norwegians
  • Icelandic government attempted to extend its limit to 13 nautical miles; not recognized by the British
  • British trawlers dealt with harassment from Icelandic gunboats, but the Royal Navy didn’t intervene
  • Ended with the outbreak of WWI and recognition of a 4 mile limit
pre cod wars conflict
Pre-Cod Wars “conflict”
  • Iceland annulled the Anglo-Danish Territorial Waters Agreement of 1901 (due to expire in 1951), which had set a limit at 3 nautical miles
  • Iceland extended the limit to 4 nautical miles, and the case was put before the International Court of Justice
  • Britain banned Icelandic vessels from landing fish in Britain
  • 1956: based on a decision of the Organization of European Economic Cooperation, Britain conceded to the 4 mile limit
the first cod war 1958
The First Cod War, 1958
  • UN held first Conference on the Law of the Sea; many nations made claims to extend the limit to 12 miles, but nothing was definitive
  • Icelandic government declared a 12 mile limit, but the British still continued fishing within the limit anyway
  • Icelandic Coast Guard vessels tried to chase out British trawlers; some ramming and other violence occurred  Royal Navy ships deployed to protect trawlers
  • Britain finally agreed to the limit after the UN Conference of the Law of the Seas (1960-1961)
the second cod war 1972 1973
The Second Cod War, 1972-1973
  • Icelandic government (supposedly of a different coalition than the previous one) extended the limit to 50 miles
  • Icelandic Coast Guard used net cutters to cut the nets of trawlers that ignored the new limit (both British and others)
  • Iceland threatened to close the NATO base at Keflavíkand open friendly relations with the USSR
  • British and Icelandic representatives agreed to allow a limited number of British trawlers to operate within the limit for the next couple of years
the third cod war 1975 1976
The Third Cod War, 1975-1976
  • At the 3rd UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, many nations called for a 100 mile limit
  • Iceland extended its limit to 200 miles more ramming (that nearly led to boats being sunk) and firing of live rounds
  • Again, Iceland threatened to close the NATO base at Keflavík  negotiations to end the war
mackerel wars fight between scotland britain the eu iceland and the faeroes over mackerel quotas
Mackerel Wars: Fight between Scotland ( Britain), the EU, Iceland, and the Faeroes over mackerel quotas



  • Iceland increased its quota to 146,818 tonnes
  • Icelanders argue that mackerel have been migrating into their exclusive economic zone, and that the majority of catches in recent years have been caught in that zone, with the catches being landed and processed in Iceland
  • Iceland set a quota of 130,000 tonnes, up 116,000 tonnes in 2009
  • The Faeroes followed suit and raised their quota to 85,000 tonnes
  • Scottish fishermen in Peterhead blocked a Faeroese fishing boat from offloading its catch of mackerel
  • Scotts called for an EU-wide blockade against Icelandic and Faeroese boats attempting to land mackerel
  • A series of talks attempted to resolve the issue, but failed
This year:

Other important info:

  • Continued conflict over mackerel quotas will likely affect Iceland’s chances at becoming an EU member
  • Iceland allows others species caught by accident to be traded between boats and landed; by comparison, a third of all fish are thrown back into the sea by members of the EU Common Fisheries Policy
  • Iceland’s reasoning for increasing its mackerel quota may also be related to its economic crisis
  • As in 2012, the EU and Norway have agreed to take a 90% share of the recommended total allowable catch
  • Legally, it’s unlikely trade sanctions could be initiated against the Iceland and the Faeroes (note: the Faeroes are technically part of the EU, because they are still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, which is part of the EU)
  • Last year, the EU Parliament passed a bill allowing the EU to pass sanctions against countries overfishing in jointly managed stocks