CANADA: more subsidies for lobster fishermen

Canadian readers of this blog are certainly aware of the deep crisis the lobster industry is going through.

In May 2009 I wrote a post with information on possible actions that the Provincial and/or the Federal authorities could undertake to help the industry. At the time Federal Fisheries and Ocean Minister Ms Shea, appeared to be reluctant to assist the lobster industry with federal funds.

Well, it seems that fishermen have been successful in making their case to the Minister.

Two official press releases by the Federal authorities, dated June 10, 2009, confirm the granting of subsidies to the lobster industry.

I copy here the paragraphs of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) press release with the amounts of money and the objectives pursued by the grants:

"CAD 15 million (USD 13 million) will be provided for Short-Term Transitional Contributions that will assist qualified low-income harvesters severely harmed by the collapse in market demand for their products due to the global recession. available only during this particularly difficult year, eligible lobster-dependent fishers will be compensated for a portion of their lost income caused by reduced landings.

The announcement by the Minister also invests CAD 50 million (USD 43 million) in Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures to support those in the industry who evelop and implement long-term sustainability plans. This includes a CAD 15 million (USD 13 million) allocation specifically for those who work in low-income areas and have experienced significant losses due to chronically low lobster landings."

The aforementioned subsidies add to the CAD 10 million (USD 8.6 million) coming from Canada’s Economic Action Plan, through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF), to improve marketing and promotion of lobster.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan provides $1 billion over two years for the CAF, which will help create jobs and maintain employment in affected communities

Here are the links to the official press releases:




I have a question to the audience:

If you were to follow the "Good (green), Bad (red) and Ugly (yellow)" classification, as suggested by the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia, how would you label the above mentioned subsidy schemes?

For those who not know: this "traffic light" type classification appears in a study on U.S. subsidies to fisheries carried out by the University of British Columbia (see my post of 7 March 2009).

There is also another question for which I would very much welcome answers from readers:

Based on the WTO Draft negotiating text on new rules on fisheries subsidies, how would classify the Canadian subsidies: as prohibited? as allowed (though "actionable") subsidies?

A final comment: I assume that Canada will notify these subsidies to the WTO Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing measures. Such notifications facilitate other WTO countries' work when asking questions on the subsidies granted to the industry.

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