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Taxing Fishermen

July 17, 2012

Should we tax fishermen for the benefit they receive from public resources?  Most countries apparently think ‘no’.  I’d say ‘yes’.  Why?

About $6 billion is spent annually on public fisheries management around the world and…well…we just aren’t doing all that well.  Certainly I think fisheries management could be done better, but it’s likely that more money will simply be needed.  Plus, the taxation could lead to fishermen calling for greater accountability in their fishery managers.

Here’s an interesting view on Iceland’s taxation model:

The chairpersons of the political parties in the Icelandic Parliament Alþingi last week approved the bill on fishing tariffs but postponed the one on amendments to the fisheries control system. They also postponed a parliamentary resolution on a framework agreement for the protection and exploitation of natural resources.

The fishing sector will pay tariffs amounting to USD 101 million – USD 109 million; if these payments exceed ISK 13.8 billion (USD 109.2 million), repayments will be made accordingly. There will be four maturity dates each year that correspond with the quota season which runs from 1 September until 31 July.  (source)

Of course, as the article notes, this is a big increase and Icelandic fishermen are none-too-happy.  It will be interesting to see how this tax hike plays out.

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