EU-Norway snow crab row could fuel oil tensions in Arctic

On the face of it, a relentless battle between the European Union and Norway in a remote part of the Arctic is about snow crabs. But the real fight may go beyond who gets to catch the modest crustaceans around Svalbard, a unique Norwegian archipelago in the Barents Sea. What is really at stake is oil, some experts say, and a coming race for the commodity of which there is a lot in the polar region. “No country wants to give up resources without receiving anything in return. That is the principle here too,” Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg tells AFP. Norway, which is not a member of the EU, has slammed Brussels for authorizing European vessels from mainly Baltic nations to fish for crabs in the Svalbard area, saying it violates its national sovereignty. A Latvian ship has already paid the price. In January, a ship called “The Senator” was intercepted by Norwegian coast guards while crab fishing around Svalbard, and recently received a hefty fine. “What happened is totally new,” says Sandberg. “The EU is unabashed to make this kind of a decision without consulting us.”click here to read the story 13:48