According to the website, the tax paid by fishermen is $ 0.49 per gallon for diesel fuel.
Here is the link to the website with the news:
For those interested here is the link to the form with the "Claim for Refund/Reimbursement of Taxes Paid on FuelUsed in a Vessel Engaged in Commercial Fishing"
Please provide further explanation as to the requirements for commercial fishers to qualify for assistance under the New Brunswick Fisheries Development Board. Could you please also explain to what extent support through this program contributes to the creation or maintenance of capacity in the fisheries sector? More specifically, how are factors such as oversupply and overcapacity taken into account when determining the amount of support given to commercial fishers through this program?
The requirements for commercial fishers to qualify for assistance under the Fisheries Development Board are given below:
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA :
Applicants must not have any loans in arrears with the Department.
Applicant must be a certified commercial fisherman and must provide a copy of any relevant fishing licenses.
Applicants must provide a copy of their income tax returns including the statement of income and expenses of fishing for the past three years.
Applicants must pledge their licences in support of any loan provided.
An applicant who has been convicted of an offence related to illegal fishing activity within the last 5 years may not be eligible for financial assistance.
Applicant must have attempted to obtain the required financing from conventional sources such as banks or financial institutions.
In February 2002 the Department of Business New Brunswick implemented a “need criteria”, as outlined in the 6th bullet above, whereby the Applicant must demonstrate that funding is not available elsewhere from conventional lenders on reasonable terms and conditions.
In addition, in order to qualify for support the Applicant must demonstrate the viability of the proposal.
The vessels considered for funding are matched to the licenses and quotas held by the fishermen, and these licences and quotas are controlled and allocated by the Government of Canada. Issues of supply and capacity therefore are not directly considered under this program as they fall under the purview of the federal government, which is responsible for resource management, and quota and license allocation.
It was noted that, as per the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, “the Licensing Policy is an integral part of a number of federal government initiatives to restructure the commercial fisheries and lay the foundation for a fishery that is environmentally sustainable and economically viable. The objectives of the policy are to reduce capacity, improve the economic viability of participants in commercial fishing operations and prevent future growth of capacity in the commercial fishery.”
Based on our review of public information regarding fisheries programs, we have identified the following additional programs:
a) Fisheries Diversification Program
b) Government Restrictions on Licences for Processing Plants
c) Subsidized loans to the Fisheries Industry
d) Local Processing Requirement for Shrimp
e) Federal and Provincial Tax Breaks for Diesel Fuel
Please provide information regarding the following programs and explain whether they will be notified to the Subsidies Committee under Article 25 of the Subsidies Agreement.
The above programs or initiatives have not been notified because it is considered that they do not fall within the provisions of Article 25 of the ASCM.
 Fisheries Development Program guidelines (loans for commercial fishing), Department of Business New Brunswick
 From the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website: http://www.glf.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rm-gr/lic-dp/index-e.html
With regard to definition of "small-scale fisheries" the paper states: "Although they are often described as very variable between countries, small-scale fisheries are characterized as fishers operating in boats of 15 m or less, or without boats".
It is interesting to see that the authors draw the line at the aformentioned figure. When looking to the WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies, it is also interesting to see that there is no agreement at all on what small-scale fisheries are, not the least on the length of the vessels.
The WTO Secretariat compiled a document titled "Definitions Related to Artisanal, Small-Scale and Subsistence Fishing" WTO ref. TN/RL/W/197 of 24 November 2005. This document is useful as it show how diverse, and by times contradictory, are the defintions used to circumscribe "small scale" fisheries.
Herunder is the link to the post in "Shifting Baselines":
Here is the link to the official announcement:
This paves the way for making available federal subsidies to the fishermen affected by this "commercial fishery failure".
According to local media, senators with constituencies impacted by the "failure" are aiming at $15 million susbisidies "to put watermen to work on projects to restore the bay".
A few links on the subject:
"In Kien Giang Province, some 1,172 fishing boat owners in Rach Gia town have received a total fuel subsidy of VND14.6 billion ($881,642).
Several localities in the province have only just recently filled out the necessary forms to receive the subsidy.
About 1,400 out of 3,400 fishing vessel owners in Ca Mau Province have received subsidies, totalling VND21 billion ($1.27 million).
Ca Mau Province’s Aquaculture Department said it had been working with local authorities to provide subsidies to all fishermen in the province by the end of the year.
Financial support for each fishing trip ranges from VND4 million to VND10 million, depending on the size of fishing boat’s engine.
Each vessel owner can receive a maximum of five payments a year.
To be eligible for the subsidy, fishermen must be permanent legal residents of Viet Nam, own and register their boats, buy insurance for crew members, and possess a fishing licence."
Hereunder is the link to the article:
In the previous post I quoted the questions from the European Communities (or EU) at the latest WTO Review of the U.S. Trade Policy. In one of the question the EU asked about the $170 million in disaster assistance to help commercial fishers and businesses affected by the salmon closure in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho.According to several media the money should be soon with those qualifying for the subsidies. Though some politicians from the West Coast fear that the Bush Administration is trying to get hold of part of the funds ( $70 million) to use them for other purposes.
Here are links from the press on this issue:
V. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
US Report, page 25, para. 119 and page 26, para. 121
In its Report the US asserts that on the multilateral front, the United States has been a global leader in seeking to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies and eliminate barriers to trade in environmental technologies and services through the WTO as part of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Furthermore, the Report states that in the Rules Negotiating Group, the United States continues to lead in pressing for stronger disciplines on fisheries subsidies that contribute significantly to global overcapacity and overfishing. In March 2007, the United States submitted a far-reaching textual proposal for a fisheries subsidies agreement, which included a broad prohibition of the most harmful subsidies. Has the US adopted legislation that would prevent, in fact or in law, the provision of all forms of subsidies, at all levels of government, federal, state, local, that would directly or indirectly contribute to overcapacity and overfishing? If not, is it planning to do it in the future?
ANSWER: As noted above, the United States supports an ambitious result in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations that will discipline harmful subsidies that contribute significantly to overcapacity and overfishing, and we call on others to do the same. Current U.S. practice is fully consistent with such a result.
One of the United States' textual proposals (WTO doc. TN/RL/GEN/145) for a fisheries subsidies agreement, referred to in paragraph 121 of the Government Report includes the following provision:"2. This Annex does not cover government-to-government payments to obtain access for a Member's distant water fishing fleet to fisheries resources within the exclusive economic zone of another country. The further transfer of those access rights to the Member's fishing fleet is covered by this Annex but is not prohibited under Article 1, provided that:(i) the Member's fishing fleet pays compensation comparable to the cost the fleet would otherwise have to pay for access to the fisheries resources; (ii) the terms and conditions of access, including the compensation paid by the fishing fleet, are published; and (iii) the access arrangement provides for a science-based assessment and monitoring of the status of the fisheries resources in question and for compliance with applicable fishery management systems."
One of the most significant fisheries access arrangements in the South Pacific is the Treaty on Fisheries between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the US. This agreement, last extended in 2003, regulates access of US purse seine vessels in the EEZs of the South Pacific Island States which are members of the Forum Fisheries Agency. The financial terms of the Treaty, which include an annual payment by USAID of approximately US$14 million, stipulate an annual industry payment of US$3 million, which shall cover (i) licence fees for up to 45 vessels; and (ii) technical assistance. Furthermore, paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to Annex II of the Treaty, 3 foresees that: "In order to increase the benefits to the Pacific Island parties under the Treaty, the United States industry will develop with the Pacific Island parties a system for revenue sharing where the ex-vessel price is at or above a mutually agreed level. Payments made under such a system will be made quarterly and will be in addition to the amount specified in paragraph 1(a)." Could the United States provide information about the yearly value of the catches effected by U.S. vessels, since 2003, under the Treaty?
ANSWER: Due to a marked contraction of the U.S. fleet since 2000, and considerable inter-annual variation in the fish price, the approximate annual value of U.S. catches under the Treaty ranges between $100-200 million USD. We note that the correct figure for the amount provided in assistance by USAID is $18 million USD annually (not $14 million).
Could the United States provide details about the revenue sharing system between the United States industry and the Pacific Island parties, including the yearly amounts paid under this system since 2003?
ANSWER: Under the terms of the Treaty between the United States and the Pacific Island States, the United States tuna industry makes an annual payment of US$3 million to the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), which is distributed to the FFA member states. In addition, amendments to the Treaty in 2003 provided that the U.S. industry would develop with the Pacific Island Parties a system for revenue sharing. This system has been developed and provides that when the average price of skipjack (Katsuwomus pelamis) delivered by US vessels licensed under the Treaty to the canneries in American Samoa averages $800 per short ton or higher for an agreed period (calculated twice per Treaty year), the industry will provide the Parties with as an additional 1% of the total value of the catch, above and beyond the annual payment. This latter provision was not triggered until 2007, as fish prices were below the threshold level. Since 2007, the U.S. industry has provided over 1 million USD to the Pacific Island Parties under this arrangement. It is estimated that in 2008 the first six-month payment could be as high as 2 million USD.
Could the United States provide detailed information on scientific assessment and setting of catch limits for fish stocks fished by U.S. vessels under the Treaty?
ANSWER: U.S. vessels operating under the Treaty are subject to a strict management and monitoring regime, including use of satellite-based vessel monitoring systems, observers, full reporting of all catches on a weekly basis, notification of entry and exit from zones of each Party, port sampling and monitoring as well as other requirements. Data provided by these U.S. vessels provides one of the largest source of fisheries data used by the South Pacific Commission’s Oceanic Fisheries Program (SPC/OFP) in its work to conduct science-based stock assessments for Pacific stocks of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tunas, as well as other associated species. The data from U. S. vessels, most of which are provided by catch and effort logs, are unique in that they are verified by observers and port sampling programs. These vessels also operate in full compliance with applicable measures (including catch limits) adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) responsible for adopting conservation and management measures for highly migratory species in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The stock assessments conducted by the SPC/OFP, based on data provided by the United States, form the basis of conservation and management recommendations to be considered by that RFMO.
The United States' textual proposal (WTO doc. TN/RL/GEN/145) for a fisheries subsidies agreement, referred to in paragraph 121 of the Government Report foresees a total ban on subsidies, inter alia, for the construction of new vessels. The EC notes that the website of the National Marine Fisheries Services (Office of Management and Budget) includes information about the Capital Construction Fund Program. In a dedicated webpage the programme is described as follows: "The purpose of the Capital Construction Fund (CCF) Program is to improve the fishing fleet by allowing fishermen to accelerate their accumulation of funds with which to replace or improve their fishing vessels. Created by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended (46 U.S.C. 1177), the CCF Program enables fishermen to construct, reconstruct, or under limited circumstances, acquire fishing vessels with before-tax, rather than after-tax dollars. The program allows fishermen to defer tax on income from the operation of their fishing vessels. Under the CCF Program, the amount accumulated by deferring tax on fishing income, when used to help pay for a vessel project, is, in effect, an interest free loan from the Government." Is this programme still available to US fishermen? If so, how do the US authorities ensure that the fishing capacity that results from the use of this subsidy does not negatively impact fishery resources?
ANSWER: Capital Construction Funds are governed by section 607 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and section 7518 of the Internal Revenue Code. The CCF program is currently available not only to U.S. citizens that own or lease fishing vessels but also to those who own or lease the wide spectrum of other commercial vessels (for example, tugs, barges, bulk cargo vessels, container vessels, tankers, cruise vessels and ferries). The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) administers the program with respect to commercial vessels other than fishing vessels; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce administers the program with respect to fishing vessels. All funds contributed to the program come from the CCF account holders themselves, without any form of matching contributions. The benefit to the account holder is limited to the deferral of income tax on contributions to the fund and earnings on those amounts until the funds are withdrawn by the fisher. When funds are withdrawn for approved purposes, the tax basis of a qualified vessel (used for the computation of depreciation allowances or gain or loss) is reduced by the amount of any withdrawal.
With respect to fishing vessels, licensing and other requirements ensure that vessels are eligible to participate in a particular fishery only if the associated fishing is sustainable. Because many U.S. fisheries are in the process of stabilizing or withdrawing capacity, a large percentage of CCF accounts for fishing vessels are inactive, i.e., those account holders are not withdrawing the funds in their accounts. Legislative proposals to allow withdrawal of the funds for other purposes (e.g., retirement, purchase of quotas under market-based limited access privilege programs) are currently before Congress.
Could vessels having benefited from this subsidy be used in waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States?
ANSWER: The program does not place specific limitations on where fishing vessels will be used. Please see the answer to question 9.
Does the United States maintain a register of vessels having benefited from such subsidy? Could the US indicate the total amount of the subsidy provided to the US fishing sector under this programme?
ANSWER: NOAA maintains a database that lists all the fishing vessels qualified under the program. We estimate that the annual total benefit conferred from tax deferrals pursuant to the program is approximately $5 million. This estimate may overstate the benefit because it does not account for the fact that the tax basis of a qualified vessel is reduced by the amount of any withdrawal which represents amounts previously excluded or deducted from taxable income. It is difficult to estimate the amount that goes back into the fishery; as noted in the response to question 9, a large percentage of CCF accounts are inactive in light of the restrictions on capacity in many U.S. fisheries.
Has the United States notified this subsidy to the WTO?
ANSWER: No. Please see the response to the European Communities’ previous question on this topic in G/SCM/Q2/USA/20 (April 1999).
As this subsidy programme would be prohibited under the proposals made by the US contained in its textual submission TN/RL/GEN/145, does the US plan the removal of such programme? If so, could the US provide an indication of the timing for such removal?
ANSWER: The United States supports an ambitious outcome in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations and will comply with any new rules that are adopted, including rules that may have originated in a U.S. fish subsidies proposal. Therefore, if such rules were to have the effect suggested by the EC, affected U.S. policies would be modified accordingly.
Concerning subsidies granted by the US in the fisheries sector, a "commercial fisheries failure" was declared by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2006 for the Klamath River Fall Chinook Salmon Fishery. According to publicly available information the US Congress appropriated $60 million in disaster assistance that was distributed during 2007. Could the United States provide details on whether these funds were allocated to fishermen involved in wild capture fisheries, and if so, how much and for which specific purposes?
ANSWER: The Klamath Disaster Funds were allocated to the following programs and groups: to commercial fishermen for lost income ($35 million) and for vessel maintenance and safety ($7 million); to affected businesses ($14 million); to the states, tribes and industry organizations for outreach and administrative support ($2 million); and to states, tribes, universities and commercial fishermen for research ($3 million).
A similar "commercial fisheries failure" was declared for the West Coast Salmon Fishery on 1 May 2008. According to publicly available information the “Farm Bill”, as agreed by the Senate-House conference committee, includes $170 million in disaster assistance to help commercial fishers and businesses affected by the salmon closure in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho. Could the United States provide details on whether these funds will be allocated to fishermen involved in wild capture fisheries, and in the affirmative how much and for which specific purposes?
ANSWER: The funds will not only be allocated to affected commercial fishermen and related businesses but also to affected recreational businesses. Precise allocation figures and other information are not yet available.
In relation to the aforementioned questions, under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Commerce Secretary can declare a commercial fishery failure if requested to do so by a governor, or at the Secretary's discretion. The Secretary must determine that the commercial fishery failure resulted from a fishery resource disaster due to natural causes, man-made causes beyond the control of fishery managers, or undetermined causes. Could a "fishery resource disaster" be declared as a result of, for example, cuts by fisheries managers in the fishing quotas?
ANSWER: No. Only “fishery resource disasters” resulting from regulatory restrictions put in place to protect human health or the marine environment are eligible for consideration; reduction in fishing quotas does not qualify.
Concerning the determination of a fisheries failure, do economic and/or social factors play a role in making such a determination?
ANSWER: Yes. Severe economic impacts must be shown, and must also be logically traced to a disaster.
The document can be found at the WTO's website. It has the reference T/TPR/M/115/Add.1 of 17 June 2003.
I leave to the reader to judge on whether this allocation of fishing rights is a subsidy or not.
34. (para 23) The report states: "[…] The TAC is set in order to ensure that the greatest yield can be achieved over time while maintaining the stock's productive capacity; in addition, where non-commercial users are involved (such as Maori or recreational fishers), a quantity of stock is set aside for them before the commercial catch (TACC) is established. […] When a new species is introduced to the QMS, 20% of the catch of all ITQs is allocated to Maori. The remaining quota is distributed amongst people holding commercial fishing permits for each species, based on how much they caught during the "qualifying years". Any remaining ITQ may be tendered off by the Crown." According to information available from the Ministry of Fisheries (www.fish.govt.nz/) and "Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM)", in English "Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission" (www.tokm.co.nz/), Maori are involved in commercial fisheries in New Zealand. The web site of the TOKM states that “assets held by the Fisheries Commission, Maori currently own or control more than 33 percent of New Zealand’s commercial fishing quota.” This web site provides also information from which it appears that the “Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission” currently owns a substantial share in the New Zealand’s companies active in commercial fisheries.
35. Could New Zealand confirm that the 20% allocation for Maori on new species entering the QMS (Quota Management System) is made at no cost?
Answer - The 20% allocation to Maori is made at no cost. It is the result of the settlement of Maori fisheries claims against the Crown in 1992, and the passing of the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992.
36. Could New Zealand provide information on the value, in money terms, of the yearly quota allocations to Maori for commercial fishing purposes, for the years 1998-2002?
Answer - The current value of the fishing quota allocations held by Maori is approximately NZ$700 million.
I will come back on this issue which I find most interesting mainly because it concerns a country that has always fought for the abolition of fish subsidies.
Hereunder are the links to the posts of the "Frogblog" and "The Hive".
Here is also a link to the government's website giving information over the emissions scheme:
Dion said 70 million (Canadian dollar) would be spent in an exit program for those fishermen who want to get out of the business.
A 250 million (Canadian dollar) Green Fisheries and Transport Fund would provide rebates and other incentives for technologies that will reduce fuel consumption and energy.
Hereunder is the link to official communiqué in the official site of the Canadian Liberal Party.
In May 2008 Deputy Agriculture Minister Nguyen Van Thang told Vietnamese fishermen that the government will lend them a hand. Thang says any fisherman who buys a new boat with an engine of 90 horsepower or more will get a subsidy of about $3,500 a year.
Here is the link to the article:
TAIWAN's fuel package: 14 percent of the cost of fuel for fishing fleet 50 percent for power consumption at fish farms
Here is the link to an article in the "China Post"
The measures include : buying fishery products worth 40 billion yen; extending 20 billion yen in interest-free loans for energy-conservation measures; paying subsidies of 8 billion yen for approved projects to reduce fuel consumption; and doling out 6.5 billion yen in aid for fishermen who suspend fishing work and fleet owners who reduce the number of their boats.
Here are a few press items on the package:
Besides the provision of boats to arttisanal fishermen the government has also pledged to build a fishing harbour at Mumford near Apam that would have a place for mending nets, cold storage facilities and an ice block manufacturing plant, a fish market and a fuel depot. Other facilities would include an early childhood development centre, offices with storerooms, a meeting place, toilets and a machine shop for repairing engines to serve fishermen in the two towns.
Furthermore 400 fishmongers had benefited from the Ministry's credit schemes in the area while 25 outboard motors were distributed to fishermen on hire purchase basis.
Hereunder is the link to the article:
Fibreglass boats to replace wooden canoes
A total of 150 fishing boats, of which 147 artisansal and three semi-industrials were handed over to Luanda-based fishermen on August 27, 2008.
Here is an article from "Allafrica.com" on the subject
Angola: Prime Minister Calls for Increase in Fish Supply
U.S. Federal government provides a $13.4 million relief package for the Massachusetts fishing industry
According to "The Patriot Ledger" (Quincy, Massachusetts) "The state Division of Marine Fisheries is issuing payments by electronic fund transfers and checks today to owners of more than 500 commercial fishing boats in the state to divide $11.3 million in subsidies for boats with federal permits."
This federal subsidy was hard fought by Senator John Kerry, supported by Senator E. Kennedy.
For those interested I recommend the following articles:
In the The Patriot Ledger" (Quincy, Massachusetts)
Today's the Day: Fishermen Get Money ; More Than $1M Heading to South Shore Owners of Commercial Boats
In the Boston Globe (June 10, 2008)
Fishing industry to get $13.4m in aid
In the "Wicked Local Manchester" Beverly, Massachusetts (Jun 09, 2008)
Tarr says federal fish aid is critical