Tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean are among the most valuable resources in the region. These fisheries, worth an estimated $4.1 billion each year, play a pivotal role in supporting incomes and development goals in the region. However, due to the twin, and potentially inter-related effects of harmful fishing practices such as the use of fish aggregating devices, overcapacity, and fisheries subsidies, many of these tuna fisheries are currently at risk of over-exploitation—putting the livelihoods of countless local fishers at risk. This study finds that government fisheries subsidies in the region represent 37% of the ex-vessel value of tuna fisheries in the region. Fuel subsidies are estimated at US$ 335 million and non-fuel subsidies are estimated at US$ 1.2 billion for the year 2009. Developed countries are responsible for more than half of the subsidies spent in the predominantly developing region, underlying the fact that the majority of tuna value extracted from the national waters of developing countries in the region benefit larger, developed countries. The total resource rent, or return to society, from tuna fisheries, once adjusted for subsidies is a net negative US$750 million in 2009. Fisheries subsidies are enabling foreign fleets to operate at sub-market rates, putting local fleets out of competition for their own fishery resources.
Read the full article in Marine Policy.