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Sep 20, 2019

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Final Note

The fish that launched dozens of ships

Adriene Hill Sep 25, 2015
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In our editorial meeting Friday morning, one of our colleagues at the BBC mentioned that North Sea cod was back on the menu.

The cod population has started to recover after decades of overfishing. Apparently Brits have been suffering through meals of sub-par haddock and chips.

That got our foreign editor, John Buckley, thinking about the economic value of a fish and a piece of pretty fascinating history: The Cod Wars.

The cod wars were basically a series of disputes between Iceland and Britain over fishing rights. At some point, the Brits sent Royal Navy warships to protect their fishermen. The Icelandic coast guard cut the nets of British trawlers — all over cod.

‘There was bound to be animosity, because cod was the essential element of fish and chips,” Buckley said. “The fish, traditionally, was cod. So don’t threaten fish and chips if you want to keep peace with the Brits.” 

But really, is fish and chips from cod that much better than fish and chips made with haddock?

“Oh, it’s night and day,” Buckley said. “Cod is it. Now, I’ll probably get complaints from the haddock council or whatever — but frankly, that’s the truth.” 

 

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