Subsidies and Other Economic Controls, and Their Implications to the South Pacific Tuna Treaty Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/0p096b737

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  • The South Pacific Tuna Treaty has existed as a model of international fishery cooperation since 1988.  However, in 2016, changing economic conditions led to an impasse between United States purse seine interests and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) over payment of vessel day fees.  The impasse resulted in the United States State Department giving notice that it would withdraw from the treaty, and the stand down of the United States’ fleet.  The possibility of permanent expiration of the treaty placed at risk $128 million in vessel day fee payments and $21 million in annual United States investment subsidy payments to FFA members.   Many of the members of the FFA depend heavily on these sources of income and the announcement effectively put the FFA in the position of attempting to sell the remaining vessel days to other distant water fishing nations.  The United States’ announcement indicated a willingness to hold talks to restructure the treaty and such talks culminated in a new treaty agreement, with substantially fewer United States vessel days, that was signed in December of 2016.  This paper examines the economic conditions that led to the treaty impasse, the elements of the newly signed treaty, and the implications of the new agreement on future United States purse seine access.   This paper evaluates whether the revised treaty has provided an opportunity for other distant water fishing nations to expand purse seine fleets in the area via subsidies and whether subsidized access payments are sustainable into the future.
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  • 097634324X

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