Imposing fish trade sanctions on Iceland represents a risk to the future of Grimsby as a major fishing hub, the chief executive of Grimsby Fish Merchant’s Association has warned.

The EU Commission is considering imposing a trade ban on the landing of Icelandic-caught mackerel in EU ports as a penalty after the country – together with the Faroe Islands – has significantly upped its catch of the jointly fished stock in recent years.

Scottish fishermen are supportive of a ban as they are concerned over the impact on the mackerel stock, a lucrative source of income for them.

However, in contrast, Grimsby relies heavily on Icelandic fish imports for its processing industry. It suffered once before during previous UK spats with Iceland, the cod wars of the 50s and 70s. 

“Potentially we are at risk, if this was to go wrong and sanctions were imposed. It’s a crazy situation we find ourselves in, not of our making,” chief executive, Steve Norton, told The Guardian.

The EC gained the authority to impose a ban after the European Parliament and Council granted it the legal authority to do so last year.