In response to Russian provocations, Britain and the United States are in a diplomatic dispute over fish.
The feud could lead to a ban on imports of Patagonian fry, also known as Chilean sea bass, which US officials claim are being illegally caught near Antarctica.
It comes after Russia rejected a proposed toothfish catch limit to protect Antarctic marine life.
The UK responded by issuing licenses to fish for toothed fish to four British ships.
US officials said the move violated Commission rules and would not allow fish imports.
The UK quietly issued the license off the coast of South Georgia, a remote uninhabited island about 870 miles east of the Falkland Islands.
For the first time since the government came together 40 years ago to protect marine life near Antarctica, this season’s deep-sea fishing of Chilean perch will be conducted without caps.
The move has essentially transformed one of the world’s best-managed fisheries into an outlaw sea the size of France. He threatened to ban British imports from the region, at least in the eyes of US officials.
“In a world engulfed in conflict, Britain is playing a risky game,” said Will McCallum, Greenpeace’s head of maritime affairs.
“The history of Antarctic protection is the history of peaceful cooperation for the common good of mankind,” he said.
“Russia’s willingness to continue to abuse the process is no excuse for the unilateral actions of other member states.”
UK charged with ‘illegal’ handling of fisheries
For decades, fishing near South Georgia has been a symbol of international fishing cooperation.
It sometimes brought together hostile forces such as Russia, China, and the United States to protect the chilly, crystal blue southern waters from the kind of free fishing found on the high seas.
However, as tensions with the West escalated over Ukraine last year, Russia took unprecedented steps to reject a toothfish catch limit proposed by 26 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Image: Filet of Chilean sea bass caught near the British-controlled island of South Georgia. photo: AP
The move was equivalent to a unilateral veto because of the rule common to many international fisheries treaties that all decisions must be made unanimously.
Critics say the UK’s response to issuing licenses without CCAMLR-approved catch limits is illegal under the Commission’s rules and undermines the Antarctic Treaty signed during the Cold War to designate Antarctica as a scientific sanctuary.
According to the letter, the Associated Press, US officials privately told British officials they would ban the import of toothfish caught near South Georgia.
UK: risk of revitalizing tensions with Argentina
The fight highlights how Russia’s attempts to undermine the West have extended to obscure forums that have generally been removed from geopolitical debates.
It also risks reviving tensions between Argentina and Britain, which invaded South Georgia in 1982 as part of Britain’s war on the Falkland Islands.
Image: File Photo
“It sets a dangerous precedent,” said Evan Bloom, former US delegation head of CCAMLR.
“What the Russians did is clearly against the spirit of science-based fisheries management. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Britain can act unilaterally.”
An official from the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands governments, which issued the license in cooperation with the British Foreign Ministry, said they had taken steps not to succumb to Russian sabotage tactics that were expected to never end. soon.
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