Consider the cod. This dull fish was the cause of two NATO allies going to the brink of war. Between November 1975 and June 1976, Great Britain and Iceland confronted each other over Iceland’s proclaiming its authority over the ocean up to 200 miles from its coast.
The issue was the amount of cod caught by British and Icelandic fishermen. This «war» consisted of British fishing trawlers having their nets cut by the Icelandic Coast Guard and numerous rammings between Icelandic ships and British trawlers and frigates.
The «war» caused Iceland to threaten to close the NATO base at Keflavik, which would have had major repercussions on the ability of NATO to defend the Atlantic Ocean from Soviet incursions. With this threat hanging over its head, plus the international trend towards a 200 mile economic exclusion zone, and the economic cost of the conflict, Great Britain agreed to have its fishermen stay outside Iceland’s 200 mile economic zone without specific agreements.