SRI LANKA: fishermen union take to the streets if deprived from fuel fisheries subsidies

I found this very interesting video in Youtube:


US: Fisheries subsidies negotiations alive and kicking… at the TPP

Several articles in the Japanese press report on Japan’s (and Canada’s) alleged positions in on fisheries subsidies rules in the framework of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Contrary to the WTO, where negotiating positions are made public by way of written submissions, there is little information about the exact content of the proposed rules and of the positions of the participating countries.

From the articles it appears that Japan is opposing proposals by key TPP players (US, New Zealand, Australia) to introduce far reaching prohibitions on fisheries subsidies. The online article of 9 June 2013 by “The Japan Times” mentions that:

"If the interdiction is implemented by the 11 current TPP member states, the government will call for its scope to be limited to subsidies that would unquestionably lead to overfishing, as the Japanese fishing industry heavily depends on this source of funding, according to the sources.

The government’s position also reflects concern the ban may include subsidies for the construction of ports and other infrastructure, hindering recovery efforts in coastal regions where the 2011 earthquake and tsunami ravaged local fishing industries.

But the issue is far from a done deal, as differences remain between countries including the United States, Australia and New Zealand, which are hoping to protect the environment and fishing resources through the measure, and other TPP countries that are still opposed.

Japan will become the 12th member of the TPP negotiations during the next round from July 15 to 25 in Malaysia, but it has yet to obtain official documents detailing the discussions to date. The TPP members aim to agree on a Pacific Rim trade liberalization framework by the end of the year.

The information the government has collected so far on the subsidy ban from participating countries points to the possibility of the measure being comprehensive with only a limited number of exceptions, such as subsidies for installing distress signal equipment, the sources said.

A number of officials in Tokyo fear such a ban among the TPP nations could hand the fishing industries of non-member countries such as China and South Korea the advantage over Japan’s."
It would be interesting to know whether the proposed prohibition apply in the same way to developed and developing TPP countries. At the WTO negotiations developing countries have consistently asked for wide ranging exceptions from subsidy prohibitions.

Also interesting to know is Canada’s position on this subject. The article refers to Canada as opposing the proposals by the US, New Zealand and Australia.

Here is the link to the article:


The online edition (13 July 2013) of “The Hindu” reported on an increase in the budget allocated to fuel subsidies to fishermen in the State of Karnataka. The article states that:

“To tackle the increasing overheads of mechanised fishing, the quantity of tax-free diesel for around 3,500 mechanised boats has been increased to 1.5 lakh kilolitres in this Friday’s Budget, up from 1.3 lakh kilolitres.
“This is is nearly 25 per cent more than the subsidy given last year…It’s a fantastic budget for fishermen. The focus on fishermen’s welfare scheme and of those owning boats will greatly help the sector,” said Loknath Bolar, vice president, Coastal Karnataka Fishermen Action Committee.
Similarly, the hike in kerosene oil allocation for traditional boats from 150 litres to 400 litres per month has met a “15-year demand”, said Mohan Bengre, a committee member at Karnataka Purse-seine Meenugarara Sangha.”

Note: 1.5 lakh is 5 million rupees or 85,000 USD and 1.3 is 3 million rupees or 51,000 USD (28 July 2013 exchange rates).

The article also mentions subsidies for fishermen’s welfare (construction of houses), for fishing infrastructure (e.g. ports and roads to ports) and for training.

Here is the link to the article:


CHINA: interesting paper on Chinese fisheries subsidies

Here is a link to a "Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Secretariat paper" titled:

"Fisheries Subsidies and incentives provided by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to its Distant Water Fishing (DWF) Industry"

The title is self-explanatory.


RUSSIA: negotiations on a fisheries agreement with Mauritania

Here is another Russian fisheries agreement: one with Mauritania.

The negotiations seem to be influenced by the EU-Mauritania fisheries agreement.

Here is a link on the Russia-Mauritania negotiations and the threat, by the Head of Russia's Federal Mr. Krainy, of a WTO complaint against the EU because of unfair competition.

According to "The Voice of Russia" (see link to article) the complaint will first go through an internal Russian process, or as put in the article: 

"Now Russia's complaint will be considered at the country’s Economic Development Ministry to be later discussed between all sides involved. If no solution is made at this stage, the petition will be submitted directly to the WTO."

I wonder what effect could have such a WTO challenge on coastal states that have fisheries agreements with the EU, Russia or other nations with distant water fleets.


RUSSIA: fisheries agreement with Morocco

The Russian Federation, now a WTO Member, has renewed a fisheries agreement with Morocco.

It seems that this is the 6th agreement signed between Morocco and the Russian Federation, since 1992.

Here a few links on the renewal of the Agreement:





MALDIVES: 6.5 million dollars fuel subsidy for fishermen

Readers may remember that in 2011 and 2009 I wrote a couple of posts on subsidies for fishermen in the Maldives. 

Well, it seems that for 2013 fishermen in the Maldives will benefit from fuel subsidies amounting to 100 million MVR (Maldives Rufiyaa) or 6.5 million USD.

As a matter of curiosity I calculated the total USD per ton of fish that fishermen would get next year in the Maldives. I took the production figures from the FAO. In 2010, latest figures for the Maldives, the FAO reported 94,953 MT fishery production. So, if we divide the 6.5 million USD by the production figure we arrive, for 2010 catches and 2013 budgeted aid, at 68 USD fuel subsidy per Metric Ton of fish.

Here is the link to an online press article reporting on the Maldives’ 2013 budget:

And here the link to the FAO statistics:


RUSSIA: fisheries agreements in Africa

Russian vessels have been active in Africa for many years, and they still are!

Here is an interesting article titled : "Russia to swap fish for students in West Africa", publised in "Russia beyond the headlines".

Here is the link to the article:


USA: fisheries subsidies underway for commercial fisheries "disaster"?

In previous pots on the US I referred to reports in the media New England ground fishermen problems. Well, now it seems that financial support could be underway, and this for up to 100 million USD.

Some of the statements by Acting US Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and by Dr. Jane Lubchenco are interesting:

Here what the acting Secretary said:

“Fishermen in the Northeast are facing financial hardships because of the unexpectedly slow rebuilding of fish stocks that have limited their ability to catch enough to make ends meet,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “The Department of Commerce has determined that the diminished fish stocks have resulted despite fishermen’s adherence to catch limits intended to rebuild the stocks, and I am making a fishery failure declaration so that Congress is able to appropriate funding that will mitigate some of the economic consequences of the reduced stocks and help build a sustainable fishery. The future challenges facing the men and women in this industry and the shore-based businesses that support them are daunting, and we want to do everything we can to help them through these difficult times.”

And here the NOAA Administrator:

“Fishing is the lifeblood of many coastal communities, providing jobs, a continuation of an historic tradition and culture, recreational opportunities for millions of anglers, and contributing to food security for the nation,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator. “Finding solutions will not be easy, but by continuing to work together, we can have healthy fish stocks, profitable fisheries, and vibrant fishing communities.”

I was struck by these statements. Clearly the U.S. Administration is ready to help fishermen, including with subsidies, to help them go through the current difficulties. It is also clear that U.S. fisheries managers recognise the essential role of fishing in the life of coastal communities, and perhaps more importantly, in contribution to U.S. food security.

Among those politicians who have pushed hard to get the U.S. Administration to declare the fisheries “disaster” we find Senator John Kerry. He is part of the so called Massachusetts Congressional delegation. 

According to the press article Senator Kerry will seek 100 million USD funds for New England fishermen.
Hereunder are a few links to press articles on the disaster declaration and on the comments by fishermen and politicians.

As final consideration: I wonder how such disaster relief will be treated in the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnerships negotiations, under the issues raised by some participants (including the U.S.) to address fisheries subsidies.


NORWAY: help for the (cod) industry?

Readers might remember that on 16 September 2009 I wrote a post titled:NORWAY: the "leveringsplikt", a subsidy to the processing industry in Norway ?

Now, in Norway, participants in a selected number of fisheries will be allowed to have a certain percentage of by-catch of cod at landing provided it is sold fresh.

The objective of the Norwegian authorities seems to be to maintain, and if possible increase, the supply of fish across the Norwegian coast.

Interesting to note is that the Association of Owners of Fishingboats (Fiskebåt) seems unhappy with a  policy "that would oblige vessel owners to supply fish to a fishing industry that is not competitive".

Here are two articles in Norwegian on this issue. The first one is about the new measures. In the second one readers will find the reactions of Fiskebåt  back in June when the government was considering proposals to secure supply of fresh fish to industries on the coast.





CANADA: Government of Nova Scotia "invests" CAD 25 million in aquaculture company

The Government of Nova Scotia is providing some subsidies to Cooke Aquaculture, a Canadian fish farming company.

The "investment" includes a CAD 16 million (USD 15.6 million) interest-bearing loan and a CAD 9 million (USD 8.8 million) forgivable loan through the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund and jobs. Of the CAD 16 million interest-bearing loan, CAD 4 million (USD 3.9 million) can be forgiven based on research, development and commercialization of innovation in the aquaculture industry.


WTO: U.S. accuses China of not notifying (4 billion USD?) fisheries subsidies

Many stakeholders in the fisheries subsidies debate have complained about the lack of transparency, especially by countries that are Members to the WTO. In actual fact the WTO has rules that oblige its Members to notify all the subsidies they provide and the fisheries (and aquaculture) industry are no exception to this rule.

The U.S. seems to have embarked in a "transparency" crusade, fighting those WTO countries (and there are many!) that do not fulfil their notifications obligations.

So, at the rencently concluded "Trade Policy Review" of China, Michael Punke, U.S. Ambassador to the WTO, said the following when delivering his statement on the review:

In addition, China has failed to notify large fisheries subsidies, even though China is the world’s greatest fishing power and the Secretariat’s Report cites a study indicating that the Chinese Government’s support of this industry has exceeded $4 billion per year.  The United States expects China, commensurate with its fishing status, to notify all of its fisheries subsidies promptly and to make a significant contribution in the WTO’s ongoing work toward ambitious and effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

Readers will find the full text of Ambassador's Punke here: