Subsidies in fisheries are widely used in ways that distort fisheries outcomes in favor of overharvesting, biodiversity degradation and loss, higher CO2 emissions, and large-scale industrial fishing over subsistence fisheries that provide local food security and livelihoods. National, regional and global actions must be taken to remove these subsidies in pursuit of a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
This week’s issue of Science includes a letter from 296 authors at 255 Institutions from 46 countries across 6 continents, including myself. This is a first for Science in magnitude of authorship, and reflects a broad and deep consensus amongst resource economists and fisheries experts that sustainable fisheries cannot be subsidized fisheries. Science, recognizing the potential impact, also decided to publish the letter open-access, so you can read it at your leisure here.
You can also read the letter in several other languages here (drop down language selection menu on the right hand side), courtesy of Water Science Policy.
If you would like to add your name to the letter going to the WTO later this month, please contact me for a very simple process!
Of course, the removal of subsidies is only one (crucial) piece of the puzzle for creating and maintaining a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Lead author Rashid Sumaila has been working tirelessly on putting the puzzle together for policy-makers and fisheries decision-makers world-wide, and you can see how this call for action fits into the broader management of sustainable oceans in his recent article on Financing a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Nature Communications 12: 3259 (2021)) co-authored with my colleague Niels Vestergaard, as well as his newly published book Infinity Fish: Economics and the Future of Fish and Fisheries.