From: University of British Columbia
Published June 2, 2017 08:11 AM

Subsidies promote overfishing and hurt small-scale fishers worldwide

Large-scale fisheries receive about four times more subsidies than their small-scale counterparts, with up to 60 per cent of those subsidies promoting overfishing.

A recent study by the University of British Columbia found that while small-scale fisheries employ over 22 million people globally and directly support food security, of the estimated global fisheries subsidies of $35 billion (U.S.) in 2009, only 16 per cent was allocated to the small-scale fishing sector. Equivalent numbers for Canada are $1.1 billion (U.S.) and 5.8 per cent, respectively.

“Small-scale fisheries provide food and jobs for millions of people worldwide, and therefore contribute to the wellbeing of many local, coastal communities,” said Rashid Sumaila, senior author and professor at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and director of the Fisheries Economic Research Unit. “Yet, subsidies are mostly allocated to large scale fisheries.”

The largest such subsidy is fuel subsidies, 96 per cent of which are given to the large-scale fisheries through marine diesel subsidies. Because of the high cost of purchasing and maintaining diesel motors, most small-scale fisheries vessels run on gasoline, which is not as heavily subsidised.

 

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Photo via University of British Columbia.

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