Support to Fuel Consumption for Fisheries
- Government support aimed at reducing the costs of fuel for fishers is a frequently used policy tool in both OECD and non-OECD economies, despite the negative environmental and socioeconomic consequences associated with these types of measures.
- Based on the information available in WTO subsidy notifications, WTO trade policy review reports and the OECD’s Fisheries Support Estimate database, this brief suggest that USD 2.59 billion in fuel tax concessions and direct price support is provided to fishers each year in the 29 OECD countries and the 12 non-OECD economies.
- While significant, this total is far below other available estimates for this type of support, suggesting that many fuel subsidies are still missing from these sources—and from WTO notifications in particular. This calls for increased transparency around such support measures.
In an effort to curb the use of subsidies that lead to overfishing and overcapacity, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are currently negotiating new rules to limit subsidies to the fisheries sector. How to tackle fuel subsidies is a particularly difficult issue in WTO negotiations. Some proposals would include fuel subsidies (with different degrees of scope), while others propose to exclude some forms of support, like fuel de-taxation schemes. This issue brief provides an up-to-date evidence base for these discussions by collecting the information available on fuel support to fishing from WTO subsidy notifications, WTO trade policy reviews and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Fisheries Support Estimate database.