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Iceland’s Seamen Strike Threatens British Cod & Haddock Supply

Iceland’s Seamen Strike Threatens British Cod & Haddock Supply

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published February 13, 2017

Iceland’s seamen strike has had a rippling effect in other parts of the world, and now Brits are worried that the price of their beloved fish and chips will soar in the weeks to come.

The Guardian, amongst others, have reported that the ongoing labour dispute between Iceland’s fishermen and fishing companies has already started to have a real effect on the British supply of cod and haddock.

“Since January we have had virtually no Icelandic fish,” said Martyn Boyers, chief executive of the group that operates Grimsby fish market, the UK’s biggest importer of fresh Icelandic fish, told the Guardian. “We are currently down 75% on Icelandic fish in weight terms over the last five weeks. It’s putting pressure on jobs in the supply chain and availability in shops.”

In fact, in Grimsby the price of whole cod is £2.80–£3 per kilogram with haddock at £2.20-£3.30 per kg.

Of note is the fact that Brexit had its own effect on the labour dispute itself. As the Guardian points out, “[t]he Brexit blow to the pound has been bad news for the trawlermen, who have suffered a sharp fall in income due to the swing in the exchange rate as the Icelandic kronor strengthened against the pound.”

When this dispute will be resolved is unknown. While management told reporters that “good talks” have been ongoing between parties, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries, Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, has repeatedly told reporters that the government will not intervene in the dispute. As such, the onus is on labour and management to sort out their differences themselves.


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