A fisheries subsidy is a government action that confers an advantage on consumers or extractors of fish in order to supplement their income or lower their cost.
Extent of fisheries subsidies
The estimates on the global amounts of fisheries subsidies vary and range from USD $15–35 billion annually. The range of estimates is partially due to fact that fisheries subsidies come in many shapes and forms. Fisheries subsidies include direct transfers of funds, income or price support measures, tax credits, exemptions and rebates, low-interest loans and guarantees, preferential treatment and use of regulatory support mechanisms. Not all estimates include government funding for fisheries management, such data collection and control and enforcement, or the possible absence of access fees.
Impact of subsidies
It is acknowledged that some forms of fisheries subsidies can threaten the sustainability of fisheries resources by encouraging overcapacity and excess fishing effort, thus reducing the long-term viability of the fishing industry. States committed at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and overcapacity. Also, parties to the World Trade Organization agreed to strengthen disciplines on fisheries subsidies, including through a prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.
- UNEP – United Nations Environmental Programme (2008) Fisheries Subsidies: A Critical Issue for Trade and Sustainable Development at the WTO: An Introductory Guide. UNEP, Geneva.
- Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, paragraph 31(f).
- WTO (2005) Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, Annex D paragraph 9.
- OECD (2006) Financial Support to Fisheries - Implications for Sustainable Development, Paris.
- Poseidon (2010) FIFG 2000–2006 Shadow Evaluation
- Smart Investments – Promoting Sustainable Fishing Initiatives under the European Fisheries Fund, by Markus Knigge. Published in 2007 by the WWF – European Policy Office
- Sumaila, U.R., V. Lam, F. Le Manach, W. Swartz and D. Pauly (2016). Global fisheries subsidies: an updated estimate. Marine Policy, 69, 189-193.
- Sumaila, U.R., Dyck, A., and Baske, A. (2014). Subsidies to tuna fisheries in the Western Pacific Ocean. Marine Policy 43: 288-294.
- Sumaila, U.R. (2013). How to make progress in disciplining overfishing subsidies. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 70 (2), 251-258.