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Last updated: 12/08/2014

Each year the fisheries sector receives huge amounts of money in the form of subsidies.

Officially, subsidies to global fisheries are estimated at between USD 25 billion and USD 29 billion annually. Indications are, however, that this is an underestimate, since reporting by national and local authorities is often incomplete: other estimates claim global subsidies to be as high as USD 30-34 billion annually. Some of these subsidies are directly harmful, since they contribute to the overcapacity of the global fishing fleet.

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Harmful subsidies

A large proportion of the fisheries subsidies are harmful, since they contribute to the overcapacity of the global fishing fleet a threat not only to the marine environment and fisheries resources, but also to local communities in developing countries. Read more.

International negotiations

For many years, there have been discussions in various international fora, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regarding the role of subsidies and how to jointly limit harmful subsidies that distort competition. Read more.

Subsidies to the EU fisheries sector

In Europe, support for the fishing sector was introduced in order to help fishermen return to work after World War II. As the European Union was created and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) took form, structural support to the Member States, which was mainly used for modernisation, became one of the most important parts of the CFP. The aim of this support was to make the EU fishing fleet more competitive. Read more.