End Subsidies on Commercial Fishing

Target: United States Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank

Goal: To put an end to excessive government subsidies for commercial fishing fleets.

While accounting for an extremely small portion of the United States’ economy (less than one percent), the commercial fishing industry has nevertheless cost U.S. taxpayers over $6.4 billion in subsidies. Of the roughly $713 million per year of direct support, over half has been found to be entirely unnecessary. These excess subsidies contribute to overfishing, which in turn has a devastating impact upon global marine ecosystems.

More specifically, researchers from a study published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management revealed that 56 percent of fishing industry direct subsidies within the U.S. were contributory towards overfishing. This is because existing subsidies significantly lower overhead costs, thus promoting an increase in fishing capacity beyond what can be sustained by the ocean.

Commercial fishing subsidies are also heavily regional, showing a bias towards specific locations such as Alaska, Hawaii, and American Samoa. This makes little sense considering that these areas comprise a mere two percent of the total amount of U.S. catches. Because of this, these regions miss out on important tax revenue as commercial fishing fleets find themselves exempt from fuel taxes normally intended to pay for transportation and infrastructure.

This revenue must be re-appropriated from directly subsidizing commercial fishing; instead, it must be injected into programs with a goal for rebuilding and creating sustainable fisheries. This would benefit the industry as a whole, while at the same time serving to help preserve a healthy and sustainable marine ecosystem that can continue to support many jobs for the foreseeable future.

For the good of the ocean, the industry, and the economy, there can only be one recourse. Commercial fishing subsidies must be significantly reduced and instead that money be injected into creating a healthy and sustainable fishing program to last us long into the future.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Blank,

Commercial fishing comprises an extremely small portion of the United States economy (less than one percent), yet in spite of this, the commercial fishing industry has cost taxpayers over $6.4 billion since 1994. Within this number, which amounts to roughly $713 million per year, researchers have found that over half is entirely unnecessary and quite likely contributing to overfishing. This overfishing essentially translates into a government financed destruction of the nation’s marine ecosystems.

This information stems from a study published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management which revealed that 56 percent of fishing industry direct subsidies in the U.S. were contributory to overfishing. This overfishing happens because subsidies drastically reduce overhead cost, which in turn allows companies to aggressively increase fishing capacities. The overfishing now being conducted because of this reduced overhead drastically exceeds the ocean’s existing capacity to sustain marine life.

The region where these subsidies are most heavily focused also suffer in another way. These regions receiving the greatest percentage of commercial fishing subsidies (Hawaii, Alaska, American Samoa) miss out on important revenue as commercial fishing fleets find themselves exempt from fuel taxes normally intended to pay for transportation and infrastructure.

This revenue must be rerouted. Instead of directly subsidizing commercial fishing, they must instead be injected into programs with a goal for rebuilding and creating sustainable fisheries. This would benefit the industry as a whole while at the same time serving to help preserve a healthy and sustainable marine ecosystem that will continue to support many jobs long into the future. For the good of the industry and the marine ecosystem, please stop unnecessary government subsidies of commercial fishing.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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