Amid discussions of sustainable fisheries and concerns about overfishing, Southern Fried Science asks whether the government should be providing subsidies to fisherman?
Supporting the concept is the precedent set by government subsidies for farmers, which ensures an employed workforce, puts limits on yields and production and restricts the amount of a given staple that can enter the marketplace.
On the other side lies the free market argument, which suggests that fishing has always experienced boom and bust cycles.
Fishery subsidies already exist -- to the tune of $20 billion
according to the World Trade Organization. But
whether they should continue to be is open for debate. On one
hand you have a stock of fish that is dwindling, but that has
to be weighed against a global industry and demand for fish.
Environmentalists suggest that
subsidies encourage fishing boats to extend their radius because of an artificial level of price support, while pragmatists
might argue that the world fish market would simply stop if the
subsidies disappeared. But both sides would likely agree that this is
an issue that needs to be addressed this generation.
[Image via Flickr: prettywarstl]