USA: will US fishermen survive without subsidies?

Beginning of April i came across a very interesting article written by Gary Stoller for USA Today. The title of the article is “Many commercial fishermen are hanging up their nets” and it depicts a rather gloomy picture of the state of the US fishing industry.

I was struck by some of the passages of the article. Here is one example:

"But the U.S. catch is falling. American fishermen landed 9.3 billion pounds, or $4.2 billion worth, of fish in 2007. That's the smallest quantity since 2000 and second-smallest in 20 years, the most recent numbers available from the government's National Marine Fisheries Service show.

Signs of trouble in the industry can be seen on every coast:

•A January report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the average shrimp boat owner in the Gulf of Mexico doesn't make a profit each year. For the average boat, "the financial and economic situation is bleak," the report concludes.”

Interestingly enough the shrimpers from the Gulf of Mexico were successful in their push for anti-dumping duties on imports of shrimp products from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition to the protection against allegedly dumped exports from these countries, the US shrimpers were subsidized by way of the so called “Byrd Amendment”, i.e. the transfer of collected anti-dumping duties to the U.S. shrimpers.

So, if the anti-dumping measures disappear and the Byrd-Amendment payments cease then one could conclude that without some sort of support from goverment Gulf of Mexico shrimpers, already a loss making industry, could, indeed, hang up their nets.

Here is the link to the article:


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