Iceland and the Faroe islands have been at loggerheads with the EU and Norway for the last three years over mackerel. Iceland says there is an abundance of mackerel around Iceland and that Icelanders should be allowed to catch much more of it than the EU wants Iceland to fish.
Mackerel has been moving north over the last decade due to changes in sea temperature from global warming. But other European countries are adamantly refusing to alter quotas that are supposed to be jointly decided by the EU, Faroes, Norway and Iceland. Some countries have banned the unloading of mackerel from Iceland and the European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, has not ruled out trade sanctions against Iceland.
Various Icelandic government ministers have been talking to top EU officials about the mackerel issue, but to no avail. And now the Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, has said that there may not be any point holding a referendum about continuing EU negotiations while the mackerel dispute remains unsolved.
Which is ridiculous really. For instance, the whaling issue remains unresolved too – the arguments about that are actually quite similar to those of mackerel fishing. But nobody has mentioned whaling as a reason to postpone the EU referendum or further negotiations with the EU.