How subsidies affect the economic viability of small-scale fisheries (Schuhbauer et al.)

This article by A Schuhbauer, R. Chuenpagdee, W. Cheung, K. Greer, and R. Sumaila in Marine Policy presents the first bottom-up analysis of the proportion of global marine fisheries subsidies to small-scale fisheries (SSF). Using existing data, the reported national subsidy amounts are split into the fraction that goes to small- and large-scale fishing sectors. Results reveal a major imbalance in subsidy distribution, with SSF receiving only about 16% of the total global fisheries subsidy amount of $35 billion in 2009. In comparison, a person engaged in large-scale fishing received around 4 times the amount of subsidies received by their SSF counterparts. Furthermore, almost 90% of capacity-enhancing subsidies, which are known to exacerbate overfishing go to large-scale fisheries, thus increasing the unfair competitive advantage that large-scale fisheries already have. The article concludes that reducing capacity-enhancing subsidies will help correct the existing inequality, enhance SSF economic viability, and promote global fisheries sustainability. Access to this paper is available to purchase on the ScienceDirect website.