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Fuel subsidies plunder diminishing fish

June 26, 2014

The State Column: “Governments spend $27 billion toward zombie fishing, collapse of fish stock” by Dawn Anderson quoting a report issued Tuesday by the Global Ocean Commission:

“It is imperative to address the main drivers of fishing vessel overcapacity, in particular, the issue of capacity-enhancing subsidies. The Commission asks WTO member States to urgently adopt a three-step approach to dealing with this problem and so remove the negative financial incentives that maintain a global fishing fleet which has too many boats chasing an ever diminishing supply of fish.”

Anderson claims:

These industrial fleets would not be profitable without government subsidies. In economic terms, these types of companies are called “zombies”.

The GOC report doesn’t use the word “zombie” so I am not sure who Anderson is quoting but the same sentiment also appears from a correspondent at the Delhi Daily News: “Rich nations pay zombie fishing boats big bucks to rob the seas“:

5 billion dollars is spend on fuel subsidies from rich nations to industrial fishing fleets. Without the subsidies provided by the government, these businesses would fail. There are two main problems associated with these zombies or so-called unprofitable companies. First, they take resources that could have gone to support new, productive firms, and by subsidizing, the governments allow these companies to keep prices low, thus driving productive firms out of business. Small-scale fisheries that use sustainable fishing practices do not need large quantities of fuel to catch huge hauls of fish. Moreover, many of these fishermen live in poor countries whose governments cannot afford to compete in this industrial plundering.

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