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A Tax for Fisheries

October 14, 2011

An economist suggests that nations tax foreign commercial fishing off their coasts in order to preserve fish stocks and maintain local economic development.

Current protocol allows international fishing operations to cull “surplus” fish from zones that are further out to sea, but the results have been depleted fish for local populations. Vondolia points out that in Ghana, for example, that smaller-scale fishing fleets are seeing local fish stocks decline as larger fleets consume what the UN assumed were plentiful supplies of fish. To that end, Vondolia created an economic model that calculates taxes that African governments can impose on foreign fishing vessels and companies that fish off their shores.

More here.   That ‘protocol’ is ostensibly the ‘full utilization’ clause in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

All in all, it’s an interesting idea.  In fact, we might do with a tax on most fisheries to pay for their management costs.  It would be easy to argue that RFMOs and their Contracting States are failing to invest sufficiently in enforcement activities and technology development.  And few countries have succeeded in implementing MSY targets.

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