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DWN’s Subsidize But Call For Reduction At Same Time

Concerns surrounding continued subsidization of tuna fishing have been raised by the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA). The association believes that state grants to the tuna industry are in complete contrast to the reiteration of the ‘need to reduce and manage’ by the same governments who issue the funding.

PITIA has highlighted its anxieties over state aid given to the EU and other tuna fleets as it worries that these types of grants encourage vessels to fish in waters outside of their own exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

In reaction to the recent article on, “Spanish Tuna Boat Owners Want Tax Rebate And Aid,” PITIA said: “The recent request of CEPESCA to the Spanish government is but one example. CEPESCA cites the increased employment in the shipyards of Spain and claims that aid is needed to ensure that the Spanish vessels are “competitive” with third countries. They chose to ignore the fact that subsidies granted to distant water nations (DWN’s) make it virtually impossible for Island States to enter or, in some cases, remain in the fishery.”

PITIA added: “The Western and Central Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) continues to struggle to put in place management measures that address the overfishing occurring in the bigeye species and has failed to  manage the Southern Longline Albacore fishery.”

Early this year, PITIA stressed its shock surrounding the extent of Chinese government subsidies to the country’s tuna fishing industry. Claims were made that multi-million dollar state grants were behind a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese tuna boats fishing in the Pacific.

Charles Hufflet, Chairman of PITIA, said: “They receive USD 5.35 million as a direct subsidy and then a further USD 1.7 million as a diesel subsidy.” He called on Pacific Island governments to tell China and other countries to stop subsidizing their fleets so there’s a level playing field.