Main content area

Fuelling the fisheries subsidy debate: Agreements, loopholes and implications

Harper, Sarah, Bevacqua, Daniele, Chudnow, Rachel, Giorgi, Sabrina, Guillonneau, Victoire, Le Manach, Frédéric, Sutor, Tim, Sumaila, Ussif Rashid
Fisheries research 2012 v.113 no.1 pp. 143-146
World Trade Organization, fisheries, fuels, subsidies, United States
There is a general consensus that most subsidies to fisheries, particularly fuel subsidies, are harmful to both the economy and the environment. As the World Trade Organization struggles to come to an agreement on fisheries subsidies, understanding the position of the negotiating countries is crucial. As we move toward more sustainable regulations, we must ensure that no loopholes exist for countries to evade binding regulations. In this note, we use the example of the United States to illustrate how arguments for exemptions can lead to such loopholes. The United States provides interesting insight, as it appears that their support for a ban on fisheries subsidies may be contingent upon a legal pun, which would allow them and other countries to carry on subsidizing fuel to their fishing fleets into the future.