Iceland will take Norway to the International Court in the Hague, if Icelandic fishing boats will be refused permission to catch herring in the protected waters around the Spitzbergen Archipelago, says the Icelandic Prime Minister, David Oddsson.
The disagreement between Norway and Iceland over the right to fish in the protected zone around Svalbard has lasted for nearly 10 years, but the two nations have so far been able to agree on yearly quotas for the Icelandic fishermen.
This year, however, no such agreement has been reached, and the Icelanders stand to lose several hundred NOK millions.
Norway established a protected zone around Svalbard, in order to ensure a stable stock of fish, but this zone has never been recognized by any other nation.
Norway is afraid for a “free-for-all” which would ruin the basis for the rich fish stocks in the Svalbard waters outside the protected zone.