USA: NGO's reactions to the December 2008 WTO text on fisheries subsidies

Going through the websites from NGOs reacting to the "roadmap" for further negotiations issued by the Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on "Rules" on 19 December 2008 I found that only Oceana had issued a press release.

The author of the release, Courtney Sakay, stressed the importance of the WTO as fisheries subsidies’ negotiations as:

"one of the most important international efforts to stop global overfishing".

In a previous press release by Oceana (issued at the occasion of the 5th World Fisheries Congress in Yokohama in October 2008) the WTO Ms Sakai stated that:

"A key solution for addressing global overfishing is not found through traditional fisheries management, but through trade." and that "The science community has identified reducing subsidies as one of the most significant actions to combat global overfishing. The WTO negotiations provide the best opportunity to stop overfishing subsidies."

Here are the links to the aforementioned press releases by Oceana:

"WTO Members Urged to Fulfill their Commitment to Stop Overfishing Subsidies"

"Oceana Reveals Unlikely Source for Addressing Global Overfishing to World’s Leading Scientists and Academia"


Malaysia: changes in fuel subsidies for fishermen

In Malaysia the government provides fishermen with subsidised fuel.

The government decided, effective 5 June 2008, to "streamline" the price of diesel (for fishermen and vessel owners) at RM1.43 (US$ 0.41) per litre. Before the price of diesel for fishermen was RM1 (US$ 0.30) per litre and for vessel owners buy the proce was RM1.20 per litre.

Though the government provided some relief to the above categories of users and agreed to pay in cash a portion of the difference in the old and new prices to fishermen and vessel owners, as follows:

- Payment of RM200 (US$ 58) cash monthly to every owner and crew of Malaysian-owned vessels registered with the Fisheries Department.
- Payment of incentives to vessel owners at the rate of 10 sen per kg of fish landed by approved fishing vessels at fish landing centres in the country.

The payments are managed by the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority.

Thereafter, effective Dec 16, the price of subsidised diesel and petrol for fishermen was reduced reduced from RM1.43 per litre to RM1.30 per litre. Accordng to the goverment with new price, the government would have to bear additional cost of about RM197 million (US$ 57 million) nnually.

At the same time the government maintains the RM200 monthly cost of living allowance for fishing vessel operators and fishermen on licensed vessels as with the incentive of 10 sen per kg given for the catch landed.

The reduction in price of subsidised diesel and petrol would mean savings in fuel cost of RM260-RM4,160 monthly depending on the fishing zone and vessel size."Traditional net vessels operating in Zone A (up to 5 nautical miles) will save RM260 monthly, dragnet vessels in Zone B (5-12 nautical miles) will save RM2,600 monthly."Dragnet vessels in Zone C (12-30 nautical miles) will save RM3,120 monthly and dragnet vessels in Zone C2 (over 30 nautical miles) will save RM4,160 monthly.

Furthermore the authorities have on 3 November 2008 increased the subsidised diesel and petrol quota from 106 million litre monthly to 126 million litre to accommodate the issuance of 15,900 new fishing vessel licences by the Fisheries Department."Following requests from dragnet vessel operators, the government also approved additional quota of 4,000 litres monthly to vessels fishing in Zone C dan C2."He said the price reduction and additional diesel and petrol quota should give fishermen higher returns due to the costs saved.

Here are the links to the official press releases:



INDIA: fuel subsidies for fishermen

I copy here a recent release from the Press Information Bureau, Government of India.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 13:37 IST Ministry of Finance



The Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying and Fisheries has been implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post Harvest Operations. Under the component on Motorisation of Traditional Craft of the CSS, subsidy to the tune of Rs. 20,000 per traditional boat for conversion into motorised boat has been provided. This subsidy is shared equally by Government of India and the respective State Governments. In case of Union Territories(UTs), the entire cost of subsidy is borne by Government of India. The subsidy is extended to the Out Board engines from 8HP to 10HP.

Engines ranging below 8HP have not been covered for subsidy under this scheme , as such low capacity engines may not be efficient to go for fishing in deeper waters. Under the component on Fishermen Development Rebate on High Speed Diesel (HSD) oil, a rebate/subsidy of Rs. 1.50 per litre on HSD consumed by the mechanised fishing vessels below 20 meter Over All Length (OAL) is provided. Rebate is shared on 80:20 basis between Centre and State Governments. In case of the States where Sales Tax is exempted by them and in UTs, the entire subsidy amount is borne by the Government of India.

This information was given by Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance in reply to a question raised by Shri A.V. Bellarmin in Lok Sabha today.

Here is the link to the press release on the government's website.


WTO: the new "Rules" text is out... and the Fisheries subsidies text is off (the table) ... or at least, so it looks!

Ambassador Valles Galmés of Uruguay, Chair of the Negotiating Group on Rules, released on Friday 19 December 2008 a document with revised versions of the text on Anti-dumping and on the Agreement of Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

For Fisheries Subsidies there is not such "text" but rather a "...roadmap [that] identifies the key questions that we need to address in order to reconcile the approaches and advance our work in this area."

The document dated 19 December 2008, with WTO reference TN/RL/W/236, is available at the WTO website.


WTO: Rescuing the inexhaustible…(The issue of fisheries subsidies in the international trade policy)

This is the title of an article published by Ekaterina Anyanova in the Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology Vol 3, No 3 (2008).
At the end of the article the author draws a series of conclusions which I found worthwile to reflect here:
  1. Separate national efforts on reducing or elimination of fisheries subsidies won’t bring too much. In opposite, it would rather reflect the fisheries management slogan of David Cushing ‘sink every other boat but mine’.
  2. During the UNLOSC III, some participants even proposed to abolish the freedom of fishing and establish “the species approach to fisheries management”. This regime requires not only the coordinate work of governments and international organizations. The significant contribution of universities, fishermen, scientists is “a must”. If economy is a help to biology, why can’t biology be of help to the economy.
  3. The overfishing problem could be (in part) solved by the farming of fishing resources.
  4. Moreover, the statistics shows that over 15 000 fish species are still not identified. Perhaps, nature will help humanity.
  5. Environmentalists stress that the proper fisheries management could assist almost totally to eliminate the harmful impact on the environment.
  6. Over one half of the world trade in fish and fish products belongs to the developing countries. Paragraph 28 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration makes an express reference to the importance of fishing sector to the developing countries. It is not occasional.
  7. The fishing industry means work for 36 million people each year only in primary sectors. Before taking any concrete decision on the reduction or abolition of the fisheries’ subsidies, one has also to consider them.

The article can be downloaded at the following address:



WTO: the WTO beaten by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)... when protecting fish stocks

In a recent article in the December issue of "Ocean and Coastal Management", Dr. Peter Oosterveer (Environmental Policy group at Wageningen University) concludes that the MSC has done more to protect fish stocks from overfishing than the WTO.

On the WTO Dr. Oosterveer mentions the following problems:
  1. sustainability requirments do not play a role in the WTO;
  2. the slow pace of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations;
  3. negotiators have not yet agreed how to deal with the "smaller fishermen";
  4. the uncertainty on the shape of the new disciplines to be agreed; and
  5. fisheries subsidies being part of the "single undertaking", thus being a bargaining chip that can be traded against other negotiating subjects.

Dr. Oosterveer concludes that a private initiative, such as the MSC, when compared to the WTO, is much more promosing because more dynamic.

Here underunder is the reference to an article in ScienceDaily about Dr Oosteveer's article in "Ocean and Coastal Management".

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Quality Mark Provides Better Protection For Fish Stocks Than Does The World Trade Organization." ScienceDaily 10 December 2008. 12 December 2008



EU: Fisheries subsidies at the UK's House of Lords

Hereunder is a question put to the European Commission in the context of a report titled "The Progress of the Common Fisheries Policy" (22 July 2008) produced by the Committee on the European Union of the House of Lords.
9. What are your views on the possible impact on EU fisheries structural policy of WTO level discussions as regards subsidies in the fishing sector?

On 30 November 2007 the Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on "Rules", Ambassador Valle (Uruguay), circulated a draft consolidated text to Members on the subjects covered by the "Rules" chapters, ie anti-dumping and countervailing measure and subsidies, including fisheries subsidies.

The Commission notes that a number of elements included in the aforementioned text reflect the two key principles guiding the EU's policies for aid to the fisheries sector, namely to prohibit subsidies that encourage overcapacity, leading to overfishing, while allowing subsidies that help to remove capacity in excess of available fish resources. These elements of the draft negotiating text are incorporated in the so called "red" (prohibited) and "green" (allowed) box types of subsidies.

Nevertheless the Commission is concerned that the proposals by the Chair, as they now stand, could prevent public authorities from granting support to the fishing sector to ensure the transition to a sustainable state. Examples of this are the case of aid programmes intended for a smooth and efficient restructuring of parts of the fishing industry. Furthermore the proposed exceptions ("green" box) seem insufficient to allow for the implementation of cleaner technologies, including the replacement of engines, in order to limit emissions harmful for the environment.

Besides the proposals to prohibit or to allow certain types of subsidies, the Chair's text includes certain provisions to reinforce the notification of subsidies. In this respect, the Commission would like to see a very ambitious result of the negotiations, one which would bring WTO Members at least to the same level of transparency as the one shown by the EU internally, when implementing structural funds, and externally, when notifying aid to the WTO. Increased transparency will not only generate knowledge about the types of subsidies given but will also provide a much needed insight into the impact of such subsidies both on trade and on the sustainable use of fishery resources.

In sum, the Commission's assessment is that the current negotiating proposals, as set out in the Chair's text, should be more balanced. In other words, the WTO should be given the tools to tackle the problem of overcapacity and overfishing while allowing for the provision of aid that positively contributes to the sustainable exploitation of available fishery resources and that mitigates the negative impacts of adjustment measures on fishing communities. This assessment is shared by other WTO Members in the developing world as well as developed countries.

More details on the positions of the European Union in the fisheries negotiations are available in the three submissions made to the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules on 23 April 2003 (WTO document TN/RL/W/82), on 11 April 2005 (WTO document TN/RL/W/178 and on 26 April 2006 (WTO document TN/RL/GEN/I34). These documents are public and can be downIoaded from the WTO's website.
Here is the link to the UK's Parliament where the above text can be found.



NORWAY: cheaper salmon farming licenses in the North of Norway

The Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Ms Pedersen, announced early November 2008, 65 additional licenses for salmon farming in Norway.

The cost of the license will be 8 million Norwegian Krona, except for Finnmark in the North of Norway where the price for a license will be 3 million Norwegian Krona.

Ms Pedersen, who is from Finnmark, said that she was very happy to be able to make such announcenement.

Here is the offcial press release in English:


For those understanding Norwegian here is a link to news coverage by NRK, the Norwegian public broadcaster, of the announcement by Ms Pedersen:



CHILE: subsidies for the salmon farming industry

President Bachelet announced on 27/11/2008 a package of measures for the ailing salmon farming industry in Chile.

Among the announced measures Ms Bachelet mentioned financial support for the industry that will take the shape of a new bank guarantee in the framework of the CORFO programme. The government’s sponsored bank guarantee is intended so that salmon farming companies can buy equipment such as recirculation systems, wellboats, waste management but also for to move cages in other sites.

The ceiling of the guarantee will be raised from 50% to 60% of the loans with a maximum of US$ 8 million per loan. The specific guarantee programme should cover a total amount of US$ 120 million. The government expects that the guarantee will generate a total investment of US$ 400 million. According to industry sources a substantial amount of the money will be used to change the production methods so as to eradicate the control the spread of and eventually eradicate the Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus.

Other measures announced by Ms Bachelet concerned additional spending in Research and Development to finance, together with Norway and Canada, activities such as the conclusion of the sequencing of the salmon genoma. Other R&D initiatives include research to assess whether the ISA virus has affected other areas.

Finally Ms Bachelet suggested measures to make sure that “workers in the salmon farming industry do not pay the price as they are not guilty of what is going on in the industry”. Among the suggested measures Ms Bachelet mentioned a system to monitor the level of employment in the industry.

The full text of the speech of Ms Bachelet with the announcement of the measures can be found here:



WTO: Director General Pascal Lamy on Fisheries Subsidies (2)

In a previous post I quoted a recent speech given by Pascal Lamy at Stanford University on 27 October 2008.

Searching for "fisheries subsidies" in the "blogosphere" I found that Mr Lamy gave a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley on 29 October 2008 during which he refererred three times to "fisheries subsidies". Here are the relevant pargraphs:

"So, as we wait for the right political signals, in Geneva we continue to work towards resolution of the Special Safeguard Mechanism issue and others, including the question of high levels of trade-distorting subsidies extended to cotton farmers. We continue our work as well in areas like services, reducing fisheries subsidies, anti-dumping and specific development measures."

"But there is another reason as well. It is clear to many of us that current trade rules are inadequate for the world of today. Many see it as inequitable that rules on our books permit rich countries to pour billions of dollars into agriculture programmes which have impoverished developing country farmers over the last three decades. Many see it as unjust that we preside over a tariff system in which rich countries hit exports from poor countries with duties three or four times higher than those applied to exports from rich countries. Rules on the movement of goods through customs which date back to a time before bar coding and laptops seem antiquated. Failing to help Africa reform customs policies which require 40 documents and 30 days to clear shipments is difficult to explain. But failing to address fisheries subsidies which contribute to serious depletion of fish stocks seems downright irresponsible."

"Governments will also turn to regional or bilateral agreements rather than continue along the admittedly more difficult multilateral path. Such agreements have their place. I, myself, have negotiated a few of them in a previous life. But they are no substitute for a Doha deal. There are 430 regional and bilateral agreements in place today, 300 of these have been struck in the last eight years, and I can assure you that not one of them addresses the problem of excessive, trade-distorting farm subsidies. Not one of them will reduce the fisheries subsidies that threaten to empty our oceans. None will lead to the creation of global rules to facilitate trade or open globally trade in services."

The last paragraph brings a new light on the distintive character of WTO disciplines, i.e. they are multilateral. Mr Lamy is absolutely right in saying that no bilateral deal will go as far as prohibiting fisheries subsidies.

The full text of the lecture can be found at the WTO wbsite:


Here is also a link to a blog quoting Mr Lamy:



US: catfish in the federal school lunch programs. Is this a subsidy?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will be buying up to US$ 5 million of catfish to be donated to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programme through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

It seems that it must be "domestic farm-raised catfish". According to some of the articles appearing in the U.S. press domestic producers "say could give the industry more leverage in its fight against Asian imports."

Here is the link to the press release by USDA:


Here is a link to an article on this subject:



EU: Green Budget Europe

On 25 September 25th 2008 a Conference took place in Brussels to launch the "Green Budget Europe" iniitative. This initiave fits in the context of the so called Environmental Fiscal Reform.
The organiser was the German NGO Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft e.V. (FOES).

With the aformentioned conference FOES wants to bring the existing "Green Budget Germany" initiative to the European level. Within this platform there is a futher emphasis on Market Based Instruments (MBIs).

One of the workshops was devoted to "Agriculture, Fisheries and Biodiversity – Environmental Harmful Subsidies".

Fisheries subsidies were discussed under this heading by two speakers: Anja von Moltke (UNEP, Geneva) and Markus Knigge (Pew Environment Group, Europe). Their presentations can be found here:



U.S.: fisheries subsidies and advice to President Obama on Fisheries Policy

An American NGO, the Environmental Defense Fund, has posted on its website a report titled "Oceans of Abundance". To this report have contributed a number of prominent U.S. policy makers and fisheries experts.

The NGO considers that the President elect Obama and the U.S. Congress "have a unique opportunity to restore America's abundant oceans, which offer a sustainable source of food, jobs and diverse wildlife."

At the core of the proposed actions to restore America's abundant oceans one finds the need for the implementation of what the authors of the report have called "catch shares", i.e. a share "based on a percentage of total allowable catch or area, can be held byindividuals, cooperatives, or communities." (page 6 of the aformentioned report).

What I missed in the report is a recommendation to the new Administration along the lines of the current U.S. position (as set-out by the Bush Administration at the WTO) for a broad based ban of subsidies to the fishing industry. Therefore a logic recommendation to Mr Obama would have been to legislate in the U.S. for the widest possible ban on fisheries subsidies.

In actual fact the only reference I found to fisheries subsidies was the following:

"The Obama Administration can help provide American leadership, expertise, and resources to solve this global problem. By helping other nations to transition to catch shares, including their use in conjunction with marine protected areas, we can increase food security, alleviate poverty, reduce fishing subsidies that distort markets, and sustain a supply of healthy seafood to the United States and the globe. The fisheries of many countries are poised for this change. "

Here is the link to the NGO wesite where the report can be found:



NORWAY: compensation grants to fishermen for seismic exploration of oil

Norway, an oil and gas rich country, continues its search for new fields under the sea-bed.

The search is carried out under the supervision of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the technique used is the so called "seismic testing". This is an exploration technique that targets oil and gas sediments under the sea bottom. To find these sediments, ships tow a high-intensity air guns that fires deep into the ocean. The blasts from seismic air gun can reach volumes of 260 decibels and are audible as far as 10 kilometers away.

From time to time Norwegian fishermen complain that these exploration trips are to the detriment of fishing as fish can be "scared" by the powerful blasts. These days there has been strong protest in the Nordland region of Norway against seismic exploration of sea areas around the aforementioned region. A number of economic operators (fishermen, buyers of fish) have submitted compensation claims for alleged economic losses due to seismic exploration. It seems that the claims run in the millions of Norwegian Krona.

It is the Fisheries Directorate that deals with the claims for compensation and that is charged with the payments.

An interesting detail is that whale hunters can also obtain compensation.

NORWAY: grants to vessels from the "NOx Fund"

As I mentioned in a previous post, Norwegian vessel owners, instead of paying a tax on NOx emissions, are now contributing to the so called NOx Fund. In turn, this Fund pays vessel owners for the "investments" made to reduce NOx emissions.

http://www.fiskeribladetfiskaren.no/, a fisheries web site from Norway, has published information on the payments made to a number of vessels for investments in NOx reduction.

For ten vessels, a total of 41.806.989 Norwegian Krona (around USD 6 Million) was granted this week by the Fund.

The link to the Norwegian website is here:


WTO: Director General Pascal Lamy on Fisheries Subsidies

In a recent speech titled "The stabilizing influence of a rules-based trading system" given by Pascal Lamy at Stanford University on 27 October 2008 he said :

[...] We all agree that rules written nearly 15 years ago do not fit the world of today. Rules which permit rich countries to pour billions of dollars into agriculture programmes which impoverish developing country farmers are seen by many as inequitable. Many find it unjust to have a WTO tariff system where tariffs in rich countries are three or four times higher on exports from the poorest countries than they are on products from other rich countries. Rules on the movement of goods through customs, which date back to a time before bar coding and laptops, seem antiquated. Failing to help Africa reform customs policies which require 40 documents and 30 days to clear shipments is difficult to explain. But failing to address fisheries subsidies, which contribute to serious depletion of fish stocks, seems downright irresponsible [emphasis added]. [...]

Because of the current architecture of the WTO DDA negotiations, fisheries subsidies need to be addressed concurrently with other "Rules" issues, namely: General Subsidy disciplines and Anti-dumping. It is the latter issue that has proven to be elusive in terms of reaching consensus on changes to existing anti-dumping rules and "zeroing" is not strange to this situation. So, i was not surprised that Mr Lamy did not mention the word "anti-dumping" in its speech directed at a U.S. audience.

The full text of the speech can be found at the WTO's website here:


BRAZIL: article on public policy on fisheries subsidies

Browsing scientific literature on the subject of this blog I came across an interesting article titled "An historical account of Brazilian public policy on fisheries subsidies" written by Patrízia R. Abdallaha and Ussif R. Sumailab and published in Marine Policy Volume 31, Issue 4, July 2007, Pages 444-450.


Blogs discussing Fisheries Subsidies

The International Economic Law and Policy Blog (which is referenced in "My Blog list") has recently included two posts on fisheries subsidies and the WTO.

The first, titled "Doha negotiation on Fisheries Subsidies", discusses the nature of the disciplines being discussed at the WTO negotiating group on "Rules". The author of the posting, different from the disciplines on subsidies under the SCM Agreement, whose aims at addressing trade-distorting subsidies. If adopted, the Annex will open a new page in the history of trade and environment under the GATT/WTO by introducing direct disciplines on overcapacity and overfishing".

The second points to a conference given by Margaret Young (Pembroke College, Lauterpach Centre for International for international Law, University of Cambridge) on "Preemting international law's fragmentation through regime interaction: the WTO and fisheries subsidies".

Here are the links to the posts:



CROATIA: HRK 18 million (EURO 2.5 million) in aid to fishing sector

According to an official press release dated October 16, 2008 the fishing industry in Croatia will benefit from a one-off payment of a total of HRK 18 million (EUR 2.5 million) in grants individual fishermen.

Here is the link to the official press release:


Fisheries subsidies: A review of the issues, actors and arenas as they relate to the doha mandate of the WTO

This is the title of an interesting paper written by Syma Ebbin from NORUT Samfunnsforskning AS in December 2005.

The paper can be found at the following web address:


FRANCE : Public-aided crises in the French fishing sector

This is title of an article published by Benoît Mesnil, from IFREMER, in Volume 51 issue 10 of "Ocean & Coastal Management", a scientific journal published by ELSEVIER.

More information on the article and the journal can be found at:



NORWAY: a "green subsidy" for the fleet? The Norwegian "NOx Fund"

Norwegian companies in the fisheries industry, instead of paying 15 Norwegian Krona (NOK) per kg. of NOx in the form of a tax, will pay NOK 4 into a fund, the "NOx Fund", which shall in turn, allocate financial support to individual undertakings in order that emission reducing measures may be implemented.

The fund, which is also implemented for other industries, is run by an independent body financed by the participants.

The competition and "state aid" wacht-dog ESA (EEA Surveillance Authority) has concluded after scrutinising the Norwegian scheme that this is a "green" subsidy.

For more information about the scheme:


Here is the ESA report:


For more information about ESA:



The Philippines: duty-free imports of fuel for the tuna industry?

It seems that the Philippino government is allowing tuna companies to import fuel directly. According to the Philippino press tuna companies would be allowed to import fuel from say, Malaysia, where it is cheaper (37 Peso/liter) than in the Philippines.

Furthermore tuna company discussed at the 10th National Tuna Congress a resolution asking the government for a 5 Peso per liter subsidy on petroleum products.

There have been also calls by politicians (e.g. Senate President Manny Villar) to "extend fuel discount, livelihood support and loans for the purchase of second-hand vessels to affected fishermen, while also pushing for the review of the Oil Deregulation Law.

Hereunder are links to the Philippino press and to a press release by Senator Villar:





USA: New York Governor Vetoes Fuel Tax Exemption for Fishing Fleet

A website with local news (Hamptons.com) reported on 16 September 2008 that "New York Governor David Paterson vetoed a bill that would exempt commercial fishermen from paying fuel tax at the pump, rather than applying for reimbursement from the state tax assessor."

According to the website, the tax paid by fishermen is $ 0.49 per gallon for diesel fuel.

Here is the link to the website with the news:


For those interested here is the link to the form with the "Claim for Refund/Reimbursement of Taxes Paid on FuelUsed in a Vessel Engaged in Commercial Fishing"



CANADA: 2003 WTO Trade Policy Review (TPR)

As for the US i am copying hereunder a fwe questions (put by the US) to Canada at the occasion of Canada's 2003 TPR's at the WTO

Question 10

Please provide further explanation as to the requirements for commercial fishers to qualify for assistance under the New Brunswick Fisheries Development Board. Could you please also explain to what extent support through this program contributes to the creation or maintenance of capacity in the fisheries sector? More specifically, how are factors such as oversupply and overcapacity taken into account when determining the amount of support given to commercial fishers through this program?


The requirements for commercial fishers to qualify for assistance under the Fisheries Development Board are given below:

Applicants must not have any loans in arrears with the Department.
Applicant must be a certified commercial fisherman and must provide a copy of any relevant fishing licenses.
Applicants must provide a copy of their income tax returns including the statement of income and expenses of fishing for the past three years.
Applicants must pledge their licences in support of any loan provided.
An applicant who has been convicted of an offence related to illegal fishing activity within the last 5 years may not be eligible for financial assistance.
Applicant must have attempted to obtain the required financing from conventional sources such as banks or financial institutions.

In February 2002 the Department of Business New Brunswick implemented a “need criteria”, as outlined in the 6th bullet above, whereby the Applicant must demonstrate that funding is not available elsewhere from conventional lenders on reasonable terms and conditions.
In addition, in order to qualify for support the Applicant must demonstrate the viability of the proposal.

The vessels considered for funding are matched to the licenses and quotas held by the fishermen, and these licences and quotas are controlled and allocated by the Government of Canada. Issues of supply and capacity therefore are not directly considered under this program as they fall under the purview of the federal government, which is responsible for resource management, and quota and license allocation.
It was noted that, as per the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, “the Licensing Policy is an integral part of a number of federal government initiatives to restructure the commercial fisheries and lay the foundation for a fishery that is environmentally sustainable and economically viable. The objectives of the policy are to reduce capacity, improve the economic viability of participants in commercial fishing operations and prevent future growth of capacity in the commercial fishery.[2]

Question 11

Based on our review of public information regarding fisheries programs, we have identified the following additional programs:
a) Fisheries Diversification Program
b) Government Restrictions on Licences for Processing Plants
c) Subsidized loans to the Fisheries Industry
d) Local Processing Requirement for Shrimp
e) Federal and Provincial Tax Breaks for Diesel Fuel
Please provide information regarding the following programs and explain whether they will be notified to the Subsidies Committee under Article 25 of the Subsidies Agreement.

The above programs or initiatives have not been notified because it is considered that they do not fall within the provisions of Article 25 of the ASCM.

[1] Fisheries Development Program guidelines (loans for commercial fishing), Department of Business New Brunswick
[2] From the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website: http://www.glf.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rm-gr/lic-dp/index-e.html

Small scale fisheries : an elusive concept

A few days I cam across an interesting blog titled "Shifting baselines" run by Jennifer L. Jacquet. The blog included a post on fisheries and subsidies to "small-scale" fisheries with a reference to a paper by her and Daniel Pauly titled "Funding Priorities: Big Barriers to Small-Scale Fisheries" published in the journal Conservation Biology.

With regard to definition of "small-scale fisheries" the paper states: "Although they are often described as very variable between countries, small-scale fisheries are characterized as fishers operating in boats of 15 m or less, or without boats".

It is interesting to see that the authors draw the line at the aformentioned figure. When looking to the WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies, it is also interesting to see that there is no agreement at all on what small-scale fisheries are, not the least on the length of the vessels.

The WTO Secretariat compiled a document titled "Definitions Related to Artisanal, Small-Scale and Subsistence Fishing" WTO ref. TN/RL/W/197 of 24 November 2005. This document is useful as it show how diverse, and by times contradictory, are the defintions used to circumscribe "small scale" fisheries.

Herunder is the link to the post in "Shifting Baselines":



USA: another fishery resource disaster

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez announced on 18 September 2008 a formal determination of a fishery resource disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, due to the devastation following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Here is the link to the official announcement:



USA: $15 million for Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab fishermen?

A news release by NOAA annouces that Commerce Secretary has determined that a decline in the harvest of soft shell and peeler blue crabs in Chesapeake Bay is a "commercial fishery failure".

This paves the way for making available federal subsidies to the fishermen affected by this "commercial fishery failure".

According to local media, senators with constituencies impacted by the "failure" are aiming at $15 million susbisidies "to put watermen to work on projects to restore the bay".

A few links on the subject:




Vietnam: Subsidies for fishermen hit by falling seafood price

Hereunder is a quote from an article published on 20 September 2008 in the website of the Vietnam News Agency :

"In Kien Giang Province, some 1,172 fishing boat owners in Rach Gia town have received a total fuel subsidy of VND14.6 billion ($881,642).
Several localities in the province have only just recently filled out the necessary forms to receive the subsidy.

About 1,400 out of 3,400 fishing vessel owners in Ca Mau Province have received subsidies, totalling VND21 billion ($1.27 million).

Ca Mau Province’s Aquaculture Department said it had been working with local authorities to provide subsidies to all fishermen in the province by the end of the year.

Financial support for each fishing trip ranges from VND4 million to VND10 million, depending on the size of fishing boat’s engine.

Each vessel owner can receive a maximum of five payments a year.

To be eligible for the subsidy, fishermen must be permanent legal residents of Viet Nam, own and register their boats, buy insurance for crew members, and possess a fishing licence."

Hereunder is the link to the article:



US: $ 170 million subsdies for commercial fishers of salmon in the West Coast

In the previous post I quoted the questions from the European Communities (or EU) at the latest WTO Review of the U.S. Trade Policy. In one of the question the EU asked about the $170 million in disaster assistance to help commercial fishers and businesses affected by the salmon closure in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho.

According to several media the money should be soon with those qualifying for the subsidies. Though some politicians from the West Coast fear that the Bush Administration is trying to get hold of part of the funds ( $70 million) to use them for other purposes.

Here are links from the press on this issue:




USA: fisheries subsidies and WTO Trade Policy Review

Hereunder is an extract of the Minutes of Meeting on the WTO's TRADE POLICY REVIEW of the U.S.. The meeting took place on 9 and 11 June. The document can be found at the WTO's website. It has the reference T/TPR/M/200/Add.1 of 9 September 2008.

US Report, page 25, para. 119 and page 26, para. 121

In its Report the US asserts that on the multilateral front, the United States has been a global leader in seeking to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies and eliminate barriers to trade in environmental technologies and services through the WTO as part of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Furthermore, the Report states that in the Rules Negotiating Group, the United States continues to lead in pressing for stronger disciplines on fisheries subsidies that contribute significantly to global overcapacity and overfishing. In March 2007, the United States submitted a far-reaching textual proposal for a fisheries subsidies agreement, which included a broad prohibition of the most harmful subsidies. Has the US adopted legislation that would prevent, in fact or in law, the provision of all forms of subsidies, at all levels of government, federal, state, local, that would directly or indirectly contribute to overcapacity and overfishing? If not, is it planning to do it in the future?

ANSWER: As noted above, the United States supports an ambitious result in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations that will discipline harmful subsidies that contribute significantly to overcapacity and overfishing, and we call on others to do the same. Current U.S. practice is fully consistent with such a result.

One of the United States' textual proposals (WTO doc. TN/RL/GEN/145) for a fisheries subsidies agreement, referred to in paragraph 121 of the Government Report includes the following provision:"2. This Annex does not cover government-to-government payments to obtain access for a Member's distant water fishing fleet to fisheries resources within the exclusive economic zone of another country. The further transfer of those access rights to the Member's fishing fleet is covered by this Annex but is not prohibited under Article 1, provided that:(i) the Member's fishing fleet pays compensation comparable to the cost the fleet would otherwise have to pay for access to the fisheries resources; (ii) the terms and conditions of access, including the compensation paid by the fishing fleet, are published; and (iii) the access arrangement provides for a science-based assessment and monitoring of the status of the fisheries resources in question and for compliance with applicable fishery management systems."

One of the most significant fisheries access arrangements in the South Pacific is the Treaty on Fisheries between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the US. This agreement, last extended in 2003, regulates access of US purse seine vessels in the EEZs of the South Pacific Island States which are members of the Forum Fisheries Agency. The financial terms of the Treaty, which include an annual payment by USAID of approximately US$14 million, stipulate an annual industry payment of US$3 million, which shall cover (i) licence fees for up to 45 vessels; and (ii) technical assistance. Furthermore, paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to Annex II of the Treaty, 3 foresees that: "In order to increase the benefits to the Pacific Island parties under the Treaty, the United States industry will develop with the Pacific Island parties a system for revenue sharing where the ex-vessel price is at or above a mutually agreed level. Payments made under such a system will be made quarterly and will be in addition to the amount specified in paragraph 1(a)." Could the United States provide information about the yearly value of the catches effected by U.S. vessels, since 2003, under the Treaty?

ANSWER: Due to a marked contraction of the U.S. fleet since 2000, and considerable inter-annual variation in the fish price, the approximate annual value of U.S. catches under the Treaty ranges between $100-200 million USD. We note that the correct figure for the amount provided in assistance by USAID is $18 million USD annually (not $14 million).

Could the United States provide details about the revenue sharing system between the United States industry and the Pacific Island parties, including the yearly amounts paid under this system since 2003?

ANSWER: Under the terms of the Treaty between the United States and the Pacific Island States, the United States tuna industry makes an annual payment of US$3 million to the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), which is distributed to the FFA member states. In addition, amendments to the Treaty in 2003 provided that the U.S. industry would develop with the Pacific Island Parties a system for revenue sharing. This system has been developed and provides that when the average price of skipjack (Katsuwomus pelamis) delivered by US vessels licensed under the Treaty to the canneries in American Samoa averages $800 per short ton or higher for an agreed period (calculated twice per Treaty year), the industry will provide the Parties with as an additional 1% of the total value of the catch, above and beyond the annual payment. This latter provision was not triggered until 2007, as fish prices were below the threshold level. Since 2007, the U.S. industry has provided over 1 million USD to the Pacific Island Parties under this arrangement. It is estimated that in 2008 the first six-month payment could be as high as 2 million USD.

Could the United States provide detailed information on scientific assessment and setting of catch limits for fish stocks fished by U.S. vessels under the Treaty?

ANSWER: U.S. vessels operating under the Treaty are subject to a strict management and monitoring regime, including use of satellite-based vessel monitoring systems, observers, full reporting of all catches on a weekly basis, notification of entry and exit from zones of each Party, port sampling and monitoring as well as other requirements. Data provided by these U.S. vessels provides one of the largest source of fisheries data used by the South Pacific Commission’s Oceanic Fisheries Program (SPC/OFP) in its work to conduct science-based stock assessments for Pacific stocks of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tunas, as well as other associated species. The data from U. S. vessels, most of which are provided by catch and effort logs, are unique in that they are verified by observers and port sampling programs. These vessels also operate in full compliance with applicable measures (including catch limits) adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) responsible for adopting conservation and management measures for highly migratory species in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The stock assessments conducted by the SPC/OFP, based on data provided by the United States, form the basis of conservation and management recommendations to be considered by that RFMO.

The United States' textual proposal (WTO doc. TN/RL/GEN/145) for a fisheries subsidies agreement, referred to in paragraph 121 of the Government Report foresees a total ban on subsidies, inter alia, for the construction of new vessels. The EC notes that the website of the National Marine Fisheries Services (Office of Management and Budget) includes information about the Capital Construction Fund Program. In a dedicated webpage the programme is described as follows: "The purpose of the Capital Construction Fund (CCF) Program is to improve the fishing fleet by allowing fishermen to accelerate their accumulation of funds with which to replace or improve their fishing vessels. Created by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended (46 U.S.C. 1177), the CCF Program enables fishermen to construct, reconstruct, or under limited circumstances, acquire fishing vessels with before-tax, rather than after-tax dollars. The program allows fishermen to defer tax on income from the operation of their fishing vessels. Under the CCF Program, the amount accumulated by deferring tax on fishing income, when used to help pay for a vessel project, is, in effect, an interest free loan from the Government." Is this programme still available to US fishermen? If so, how do the US authorities ensure that the fishing capacity that results from the use of this subsidy does not negatively impact fishery resources?

ANSWER: Capital Construction Funds are governed by section 607 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and section 7518 of the Internal Revenue Code. The CCF program is currently available not only to U.S. citizens that own or lease fishing vessels but also to those who own or lease the wide spectrum of other commercial vessels (for example, tugs, barges, bulk cargo vessels, container vessels, tankers, cruise vessels and ferries). The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) administers the program with respect to commercial vessels other than fishing vessels; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce administers the program with respect to fishing vessels. All funds contributed to the program come from the CCF account holders themselves, without any form of matching contributions. The benefit to the account holder is limited to the deferral of income tax on contributions to the fund and earnings on those amounts until the funds are withdrawn by the fisher. When funds are withdrawn for approved purposes, the tax basis of a qualified vessel (used for the computation of depreciation allowances or gain or loss) is reduced by the amount of any withdrawal.

With respect to fishing vessels, licensing and other requirements ensure that vessels are eligible to participate in a particular fishery only if the associated fishing is sustainable. Because many U.S. fisheries are in the process of stabilizing or withdrawing capacity, a large percentage of CCF accounts for fishing vessels are inactive, i.e., those account holders are not withdrawing the funds in their accounts. Legislative proposals to allow withdrawal of the funds for other purposes (e.g., retirement, purchase of quotas under market-based limited access privilege programs) are currently before Congress.

Could vessels having benefited from this subsidy be used in waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States?

ANSWER: The program does not place specific limitations on where fishing vessels will be used. Please see the answer to question 9.

Does the United States maintain a register of vessels having benefited from such subsidy? Could the US indicate the total amount of the subsidy provided to the US fishing sector under this programme?

ANSWER: NOAA maintains a database that lists all the fishing vessels qualified under the program. We estimate that the annual total benefit conferred from tax deferrals pursuant to the program is approximately $5 million. This estimate may overstate the benefit because it does not account for the fact that the tax basis of a qualified vessel is reduced by the amount of any withdrawal which represents amounts previously excluded or deducted from taxable income. It is difficult to estimate the amount that goes back into the fishery; as noted in the response to question 9, a large percentage of CCF accounts are inactive in light of the restrictions on capacity in many U.S. fisheries.

Has the United States notified this subsidy to the WTO?
ANSWER: No. Please see the response to the European Communities’ previous question on this topic in G/SCM/Q2/USA/20 (April 1999).
As this subsidy programme would be prohibited under the proposals made by the US contained in its textual submission TN/RL/GEN/145, does the US plan the removal of such programme? If so, could the US provide an indication of the timing for such removal?

ANSWER: The United States supports an ambitious outcome in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations and will comply with any new rules that are adopted, including rules that may have originated in a U.S. fish subsidies proposal. Therefore, if such rules were to have the effect suggested by the EC, affected U.S. policies would be modified accordingly.

Concerning subsidies granted by the US in the fisheries sector, a "commercial fisheries failure" was declared by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2006 for the Klamath River Fall Chinook Salmon Fishery. According to publicly available information the US Congress appropriated $60 million in disaster assistance that was distributed during 2007. Could the United States provide details on whether these funds were allocated to fishermen involved in wild capture fisheries, and if so, how much and for which specific purposes?

ANSWER: The Klamath Disaster Funds were allocated to the following programs and groups: to commercial fishermen for lost income ($35 million) and for vessel maintenance and safety ($7 million); to affected businesses ($14 million); to the states, tribes and industry organizations for outreach and administrative support ($2 million); and to states, tribes, universities and commercial fishermen for research ($3 million).

A similar "commercial fisheries failure" was declared for the West Coast Salmon Fishery on 1 May 2008. According to publicly available information the “Farm Bill”, as agreed by the Senate-House conference committee, includes $170 million in disaster assistance to help commercial fishers and businesses affected by the salmon closure in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho. Could the United States provide details on whether these funds will be allocated to fishermen involved in wild capture fisheries, and in the affirmative how much and for which specific purposes?

ANSWER: The funds will not only be allocated to affected commercial fishermen and related businesses but also to affected recreational businesses. Precise allocation figures and other information are not yet available.

In relation to the aforementioned questions, under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Commerce Secretary can declare a commercial fishery failure if requested to do so by a governor, or at the Secretary's discretion. The Secretary must determine that the commercial fishery failure resulted from a fishery resource disaster due to natural causes, man-made causes beyond the control of fishery managers, or undetermined causes. Could a "fishery resource disaster" be declared as a result of, for example, cuts by fisheries managers in the fishing quotas?

ANSWER: No. Only “fishery resource disasters” resulting from regulatory restrictions put in place to protect human health or the marine environment are eligible for consideration; reduction in fishing quotas does not qualify.

Concerning the determination of a fisheries failure, do economic and/or social factors play a role in making such a determination?

ANSWER: Yes. Severe economic impacts must be shown, and must also be logically traced to a disaster.


NEW ZEALAND: fishing rights at no cost for Maoris. Is this a subsidy?

Hereunder is an extract of the Minutes of Meeting on the WTO's TRADE POLICY REVIEW of NEW ZEALAND. The meeting took place on 12 and 14 May 2003.

The document can be found at the WTO's website. It has the reference T/TPR/M/115/Add.1 of 17 June 2003.

I leave to the reader to judge on whether this allocation of fishing rights is a subsidy or not.

IV. TRADE POLICIES BY SECTOR; (2) Agriculture; (v) Fisheries

34. (para 23) The report states: "[…] The TAC is set in order to ensure that the greatest yield can be achieved over time while maintaining the stock's productive capacity; in addition, where non-commercial users are involved (such as Maori or recreational fishers), a quantity of stock is set aside for them before the commercial catch (TACC) is established. […] When a new species is introduced to the QMS, 20% of the catch of all ITQs is allocated to Maori. The remaining quota is distributed amongst people holding commercial fishing permits for each species, based on how much they caught during the "qualifying years". Any remaining ITQ may be tendered off by the Crown." According to information available from the Ministry of Fisheries (www.fish.govt.nz/) and "Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM)", in English "Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission" (www.tokm.co.nz/), Maori are involved in commercial fisheries in New Zealand. The web site of the TOKM states that “assets held by the Fisheries Commission, Maori currently own or control more than 33 percent of New Zealand’s commercial fishing quota.” This web site provides also information from which it appears that the “Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission” currently owns a substantial share in the New Zealand’s companies active in commercial fisheries.

35. Could New Zealand confirm that the 20% allocation for Maori on new species entering the QMS (Quota Management System) is made at no cost?

Answer - The 20% allocation to Maori is made at no cost. It is the result of the settlement of Maori fisheries claims against the Crown in 1992, and the passing of the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992.

36. Could New Zealand provide information on the value, in money terms, of the yearly quota allocations to Maori for commercial fishing purposes, for the years 1998-2002?

Answer - The current value of the fishing quota allocations held by Maori is approximately NZ$700 million.


NEW ZEALAND: "An emissions trading subsidy for fishing?"

This is the titel of a post in the "Frogblog", i.e. the blog of the Green Party of Aotaeroa New Zealand. The post is in fact a reaction to a post in "The Hive", a blog dedicated to politics in New Zealand.

I will come back on this issue which I find most interesting mainly because it concerns a country that has always fought for the abolition of fish subsidies.

Hereunder are the links to the posts of the "Frogblog" and "The Hive".



Here is also a link to the government's website giving information over the emissions scheme:



CANADA: liberal politician pledges 300 million (Canadian dollar) subsidies package

Canadian media have echoed the announcement by Liberal Leader Stephane Dion who said that a Liberal government would pump millions into the fisheries industry, including more than $300 million to modernize fleets and aid fishermen who want to get out of the business.

Dion said 70 million (Canadian dollar) would be spent in an exit program for those fishermen who want to get out of the business.

A 250 million (Canadian dollar) Green Fisheries and Transport Fund would provide rebates and other incentives for technologies that will reduce fuel consumption and energy.

Hereunder is the link to official communiqué in the official site of the Canadian Liberal Party.



VIETNAM: Overfished Vietnam Subsidizes More Fishing Boats

I have taken over the above title from an article from the "Voice of America" website. According to this article there are 100.000 fishing boats in Vietnam.

In May 2008 Deputy Agriculture Minister Nguyen Van Thang told Vietnamese fishermen that the government will lend them a hand. Thang says any fisherman who buys a new boat with an engine of 90 horsepower or more will get a subsidy of about $3,500 a year.

Here is the link to the article:



TAIWAN's fuel package: 14 percent of the cost of fuel for fishing fleet 50 percent for power consumption at fish farms

Mid-August 2008 President Ma Ying-jeou announced an aid package for the Taiwanese fisheries and aquaculture industry.

Here is the link to an article in the "China Post"



JAPAN's fuel package : Fisherment to receive 75.5 billion yen (69 million USD) in aid

The Japanese government has launched an aid package to help fishermen cope with the fuel crisis.

The measures include : buying fishery products worth 40 billion yen; extending 20 billion yen in interest-free loans for energy-conservation measures; paying subsidies of 8 billion yen for approved projects to reduce fuel consumption; and doling out 6.5 billion yen in aid for fishermen who suspend fishing work and fleet owners who reduce the number of their boats.

Here are a few press items on the package:




GHANA: the Ministry of Fisheries provide fibreglass boats to replace wooden canoes and boats

According to an article published in Myjoyonline.Com in October 2007 the government in Ghana has launched a number of aid programmes to support the growth of the fishing industry.

Besides the provision of boats to arttisanal fishermen the government has also pledged to build a fishing harbour at Mumford near Apam that would have a place for mending nets, cold storage facilities and an ice block manufacturing plant, a fish market and a fuel depot. Other facilities would include an early childhood development centre, offices with storerooms, a meeting place, toilets and a machine shop for repairing engines to serve fishermen in the two towns.

Furthermore 400 fishmongers had benefited from the Ministry's credit schemes in the area while 25 outboard motors were distributed to fishermen on hire purchase basis.

Hereunder is the link to the article:

Fibreglass boats to replace wooden canoes


ANGOLA: boats for artisanal fisheries to boost fish supply

The Angolan government is handing over fishing boats to artisansal semi-industrial fishermen.

A total of 150 fishing boats, of which 147 artisansal and three semi-industrials were handed over to Luanda-based fishermen on August 27, 2008.

Here is an article from "Allafrica.com" on the subject

Angola: Prime Minister Calls for Increase in Fish Supply


INDIAN government subsidy programmes

India's Marine Products Export Development Authority implements a number of aid programmes for the promotion of seafood exports from India. Here under is the link to the webpage with a summary of these programmes.



U.S. Federal government provides a $13.4 million relief package for the Massachusetts fishing industry

Yes, it also happens in the U.S. that fishermen get help from the government!

According to "The Patriot Ledger" (Quincy, Massachusetts) "The state Division of Marine Fisheries is issuing payments by electronic fund transfers and checks today to owners of more than 500 commercial fishing boats in the state to divide $11.3 million in subsidies for boats with federal permits."

This federal subsidy was hard fought by Senator John Kerry, supported by Senator E. Kennedy.

For those interested I recommend the following articles:

In the The Patriot Ledger" (Quincy, Massachusetts)

Today's the Day: Fishermen Get Money ; More Than $1M Heading to South Shore Owners of Commercial Boats

In the Boston Globe (June 10, 2008)

Fishing industry to get $13.4m in aid

In the "Wicked Local Manchester" Beverly, Massachusetts (Jun 09, 2008)

Tarr says federal fish aid is critical


Fisheries agreement between SENEGAL and MAURITANIA

Fisheries agreements have been (and continue to be) one of the "hot issues" at the WTO DDA negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

Those WTO Members that view these agreements as containing a "subsidy element" have made proposals to discipline those agreements concluded between a developed and a developing Member of the WTO, while granting an exception for those agreements concluded between developing Member countries.

An example of the latter sort of agreement is the one between SENEGAL and MAURITANIA. The link hereunder corresponds to an article (in French) published in March of 2008 by the Agence de Presse Africaine.



Brazilian government providing subsidies for projects in aquaculture and fisheries

Like Mexico, Brazil has launched a new programme called “Mais Pesca e Aqüicultura” - Plano de Desenvolvimento Sustentável. This programme, in English "More Fisheries and Aquaculture - Plan for sustainable development, was officially announced by President Lula da Silva on July 29, 2008 in Salvador (State of Bahia).

According to the official press release the purpose of the programme is to increase the production of fish in Brazil and to set specific targets to be reached by 2011.

Mexican government provding subsidies for projects in aquaculture and fisheries

The Mexican government approved on June 19, 2008 a total budget of 429 million pesos to support the growth of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Here is a link with more information (in Spanish) on these subsidies.



The pain of high fuel prices: U.S. Senators introduce a bill proposing fuel subsidies for fishermen

On July 9, 2008 Senator Lisa MURKOWSKI (Republican, Alaska) introduced a bill that would help commercial fishermen in Alaska and all over the United States offset high fuel prices by providing a temporary income tax credit for excessive fuel costs.

Senator STEVENS (Democrat, Alaska) co-sponsored the bill.

The full title of the bill is: "S. 3234. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a temporary income tax credit for commercial fishermen to offset high fuel costs"

Fisheries subsidies and small scale / artisanal fisheries

Those familiar with the WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies know that the impacts of small scale / artisanal fisheries has been one of the most hotly debated subjects, in particular as regards the question whether these fisheries should be fully exempeted from new disciplines or not.

WWF has recently issued a paper on this subject. Here is the link where the document can be found.



Fisheries subidies at the WTO DDA negotiations: what is a "not prohibited" subsidy?

For those interested in the definition of a "fisheries susbsidy" in the context of the WTO DDA negotiations I recommend the following posting in the International Economic Law and Policy Blog



U.S. minimum wage: exception for American Samoa. The end of a subsidy?.

It seems that the low minimum salary that was applicable to American Samoa (Fish Canning & Processing: $3.26) will have to end with the expiration of the previous federal law on minimum wages.

The minimum wage in American Samoa will have to increase by $0.50 per hour each year until it equals that of the fifty states, i.e. $7.25 per hour.

Argentina: tax refunds for exports of fish products

Recently, an Argentinean website specialised in commercial fishing published a series of news items related to the reinstatement, by the Argentinean governement, of a system whereby taxes are refunded for those fisheries goods being exported.

Here is the link to one of these news items.


The WTO´s Doha Development Agenda (dda) and fisheries subsidies

The negotiations on new disciplines for fisheriies subsidies in the context of the WTO´s DDA will be one of the subjects to which I will pay special attention when writing in this blog.

In this regard my impression is that the recent collapse of the Doha round has left the discussions on this subject in a kind of limbo. I will come back soon on this subject.

Items in this blog: "The Subsidy Collection"

What I intend to do with this blog, among many other things, is to create a collection of subsidy types provided by governments to the fisheries sector. The various subsidy types will be tagged with the word "collection".

The fisheries subsidies blog reopens

Dear readers,

After a few (failed) attempts this blog, specialised on the subject of subsidies to the fisheries sector, starts its activities.