Fisheries are a classic example of the tragedy of the commons: property rights tend to be incomplete and access open, with overexploitation the result. Around one third of global fish stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable levels and harmful fisheries subsidies amount to USD 35 billion annually (FAO 2018). Green fiscal reform can address these problems by assigning property rights, putting a price on fisheries access and reforming subsidies that encourage unsustainable practices.

A key driver of falling fisheries stocks is the widespread failure on the part of governments to implement green fiscal policies that reflect the cost of the social, environmental and economic impacts of unsustainable fisheries practices. Green fiscal policies such as reform of harmful subsidies, green taxes, fees and charges, and green subsidies and conditional transfers can support fishers in their efforts to reduce pollution and implement sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient practices. In the fisheries sector, green fiscal policies can foster a robust blue economy by conserving marine ecosystems and fisheries stocks while also supporting the creation of marine protected areas to advance environmental stewardship and biodiversity conservation (IIED 2016).



Policy Briefs