Putin's cod war: Russia tears up treaty that allowed UK trawlers to catch fish in Russian sea

21 February 2024, 18:57

Putin's Cod War
Putin's Cod War. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Vladimir Putin has started a war on fish and chip shops in the UK after ripping up a treaty that allowed UK fishermen to trawl the sea for Russian cod.

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Putin 'personally' made the decision to disregard the 70-year-old treaty in response to the UK imposing sanctions on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

The end of the treaty was confirmed by the Russian Parliament, almost seven decades it was signed by the Soviet Union.

It allowed British vessels to fish in the Barents Sea in eastern Europe, but those who do now could face the wrath of Putin's warships.

The speaker of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, even went as a far as to say that it was a move that would affect 40 per cent of British people's diet.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin. Picture: Getty
Barents Sea
Barents Sea. Picture: Getty

"Putin returned Crimea to Russia, and he will forever go down in history as the president who returned our territory," he said.

"And it's him again, it's his decision exclusively: he gave us back our fish.

"Because it was eaten for 68 years by the unscrupulous British."

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Volodin continued: "They announced sanctions against us, but they themselves make 40 per cent of their diet, their fish menu, from our cod.

"Now let them lose weight, get smarter. Because it is cod and other species of fish, including haddock, that form 40 per cent of their diet. And it's one of their favourite dishes."

“Now we have returned this favourite dish to them on the initiative of our President.”

Trawlers will no longer use the Barents Sea
Trawlers will no longer use the Barents Sea. Picture: Getty

But according to Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF), said it is an attempt to make Russia look like it was responding to British sanctions.

"The reality is that we do not fish in Russian waters in the Barents Sea."There is only one British register vessel that could do, the kirkella, but it doesn’t go that far. 

"The life cycle of cod is such that the young fish go to that area to grow to it is left alone to grow so there is the biomass required in the future when it returns to the fishing grounds in the Barents Sea."