Fish Subsidies Must Come to an End to Save Ocean Stocks

LiveScience
by U. Rashid Sumaila the director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the University of British Columbia

Worldwide, fishing has historically been a critical source of food and jobs, and given its importance, many governments support their local industries with subsidies to keep fisheries competitive in the global market. Now, fish stocks are collapsing after more than half a century of decline.

As such, is it still wise to use taxpayer money to fund fisheries subsidies?

For more than a decade, my colleagues and I at the University of British Columbia have tried to answer that question by applying economic modeling to databases we have compiled on global fisheries subsidies, studying their impact on ocean fish stocks. Our research points to one clear conclusion: Harmful subsidies must be eliminated if ocean fish are going to remain for future generations.

This is why the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries, caught my attention. Although the TPP draws criticism for other aspects of the deal, it successfully established the first binding agreement that directly tackles these fishery subsidies, spearheading an international effort to protect one of our planet's most important resources.

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