A government proposal published last month said the U.K. should have full control over its waters and the ability to set its own quotas for U.K.-boats. But the European Union is unlikely to readily agree to such plans.British fishermen have long lamented the imbalance in the amount of fish caught by British and E.U. vessels in each other’s waters. According to U.K. government data, E.U. vessels caught 683,000 tons of fish in U.K. waters in 2015 — but British vessels caught only 111,000 in E.U. member states’ seas.This is not the first time that the U.K. has seen how negotiations over fisheries can turn into full-blown confrontations.During the 1970s, relations between the U.K. and Iceland rapidly deteriorated over access to cod stocks in the North Atlantic. At the height of the so-called Cod Wars, the British Royal Navy was deployed to protect U.K. trawlers as they fished in disputed waters.There were several reports of vessels ramming into other boats. In 1975, an Icelandic gunboat opened fire at unarmed British fishery support vessels. NATO was eventually called in to resolve the dispute.
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