The fishing industry in the European Union (EU) receives a significant amount of government subsidies, which have promoted the overcapacity of European fishing fleets, resulting in overfishing, and rendering fisheries in many European countries unprofitable and a poor investment for taxpayers. In 13 countries, subsidies added up to an amount greater than the value of the fish catch.
Short documentary providing useful background on global fishery subsidies and efforts at reform. It looks at the problem of over-fishing and approaches to making fisheries more sustainable, in particular through the reform of fishery subsidies. In this regard, the ongoing WTO negotiations aimed at improving and clarifying rules on fisheries subsidies are identified as a major opportunity.
Subsidies to the fishing industry are common worldwide, and it is well accepted that these subsidies contribute to overcapacity in fishing fleets and overexploitation of fisheries resources. To date, however, most of the quantitative estimates of these subsidies reported in the literature have been at either the multicountry or global level. Estimates are rarely based on a detailed accounting of individual subsidy programs, limiting both their accuracy and usefulness for management decisions. The present analysis helps fill this gap with respect to U.S. fisheries subsidies.
All European countries provide fuel subsidies to their fisheries sector in one form or another. Those subsidies consist mostly of fuel tax exemptions, but there are also some other state aid and support schemes that play a role in reducing fuel costs for the fishing industry. This report analyses fuel subsidies and the impact it has on fish stocks and the fisheries sector in the EU. It is well documented that by reducing operating costs and thus enhancing fishing effort, fuel subsidies are increasing the fishing pressure on the target species and related species (e.g.
Inappropriate subsidies contribute to widespread overfishing and to the distortion of trade in fisheries products. Current negotiations in the World Trade organization aim to address this problem through binding new subsidies rules. Meanwhile, many governments are working to reform their domestic fisheries subsidies programmes. But some fisheries subsidies will undoubtedly continue to be used for years to come. In this context, a knowledge of the policies and practices that can reduce the risks associated with these subsidies is critically important.