Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 201–225 | Cite as

A bottom-up re-estimation of global fisheries subsidies

  • U. Rashid SumailaEmail author
  • Ahmed S. Khan
  • Andrew J. Dyck
  • Reg Watson
  • Gordon Munro
  • Peter Tydemers
  • Daniel Pauly


Using a recently developed database of fisheries subsidies for 148 maritime countries spanning 1989 to the present, total fisheries subsidies for the year 2003 is computed. A key feature of our estimation approach is that it explicitly deals with missing data from official sources, and includes estimates of subsidies to developing country fisheries. Our analysis suggests that global fisheries subsidies for 2003 are between US$ 25 and 29 billion, which is higher than an earlier World Bank estimate of between US$ 14–20 billion. This new estimate is lower than our 2000 global subsidies estimate of US$ 30–34 billion. We find that fuel subsidies compose about 15–30% of total global fishing subsidies, and that capacity enhancing subsidies sum to US$ 16 billion or about 60% of the total. These results imply that the global community is paying the fishing industry billions each year to continue fishing even when it would not be profitable otherwise—effectively funding the over-exploitation of marine resources.


Overcapacity Overfishing World Trade Organization Fuel subsidies 

JEL Classification

F01 H25 L79 Q22 Q28 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Rashid Sumaila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ahmed S. Khan
    • 4
  • Andrew J. Dyck
    • 2
  • Reg Watson
    • 3
  • Gordon Munro
    • 3
  • Peter Tydemers
    • 5
  • Daniel Pauly
    • 3
  1. 1.Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Sea Around Us, Fisheries CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Fisheries CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Fisheries CentreThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Memorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada
  5. 5.Faculty of Management, School for Resource and Environmental Studies (SRES)Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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