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trawl wire cutter

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  • "In the second Cod War, a Coast Guard of Iceland vessel would approach a foreign trawler to inform the captain that he was in violation of Icelandic law and should move outside the fifty-mile limit. If the captain did not agree, the Coast Guard ship would come about and, cruising at a right angle to the trawler, cross its path astern with the Coast Guard's secret weapon pulled behind—a 'trawl wire cutter.' ... One of the device's four prongs would ensnare a trawl cable and cut it, letting loose a net worth $5,000 and whatever catch might be in it. A trawler without a trawl had nothing to do but go home. During the one-year conflict, eighty-four trawlers ... lost their nets... Trawlers started fishing in pairs, one working and the other guarding the stern. But ... the fishing fleet was reduced to half its normal capacity. Also, several trawlers collided from following too close in rough seas."
    —Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (New York: Penguin, 1997), 165

    "'Between scientists it the third Cod War was a very friendly cod war. The English are our best enemies.' He recalled that a British negotiator once jokingly suggested that no trawls be cut the following Thursday because there was a program he wanted to watch on television." (p. 168)

    More on Cod Wars.

    July 17, 2009