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Subsidies to high seas bottom trawl fleets and the sustainability of deep-sea demersal fish stocks


Sumaila, UR and Khan, A and Teh, L and Watson, RA and Tyedmers, P and Pauly, D, Subsidies to high seas bottom trawl fleets and the sustainability of deep-sea demersal fish stocks, Marine Policy, 34, (3) pp. 495-497. ISSN 0308-597X (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2009.10.004


The life spans of demersal species of fishes occurring in deep-waters are much longer and their potential growth rates much lower than those of related shallow water species. As a result, deep-sea demersal fish species are more vulnerable to exploitation. This is because low growth rates relative to the available market discount rate for capital makes it desirable for fishing firms to mine, rather than sustainably exploit, these resources even in the absence of fisheries subsidies. However, it is common knowledge that governments around the world do provide subsidies to their fishing industries. The objective of this contribution is to estimate the global amount of subsidies paid to bottom trawl fleets operating in the high seas, i.e., outside of the Exclusive Economic Zones of maritime countries. Our study suggests that fisheries subsidies to these fleets stand at about US$152 million per year, which constitutes 25% of the total landed value of the fleet. Economic data for bottom trawlers suggest that the profit achieved by this vessel group is normally not more than 10% of landed value. The implication of this finding is that without subsidies, the bulk of the world's bottom trawl fleet operating in the high seas will be operating at a loss, and unable to fish, thereby reducing the current threat to deep-sea and high seas fish stocks. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Deep-sea fisheries; Fisheries subsidies; High seas; Sustainability; bottom trawling; deep-sea fishery; demersal fishery; estimation method; exploitation; fishing industry; growth rate; profitability; sustainability; Pisces
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Watson, RA (Professor Reginald Watson)
ID Code:83724
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:48
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2013-03-21
Last Modified:2013-03-21

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