Study: Subsidies hurt fisheries’ profitability


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 26, 2011

Removing subsidies increases a fishery’s profitability, according to a new study by researchers in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Published on Thursday in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, the study examined the impact of subsidies on the profitability and ecological stability of North Sea fisheries over the past 20 years. It found that subsidies can hurt both the biomass of commercially important species and a fishery’s profit.

When subsidies are eliminated, the study showed that that rather than forcing a fishery’s participants into the red they become more profitable, despite a decline in total revenue due to loss of subsidies from the government.

For example, “the governments of the North Sea paid an extra EUR 19 million to make the beam trawler fisheries less profitable by EUR 7 million in [2003], and cumulatively the beam trawler fishery was in a deficit of EUR 1 million from 1991 to 2003, while [it] could have accumulated a profit of EUR 21 million without subsidies.

Cod, haddock, herring and plaice were among the fisheries researchers studied.

The researchers were from the Scottish Marine Institute’s Association for Marine Science, the UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the University of Aberdeen’s School of Biological Sciences and the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre.

Click here to view the study.

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