Government financial transfers (GFTs) to the marine capture fishery sectors in OECD Member countries represent a significant policy intervention. These transfers have a variety of objectives and governments employ a number of means to implement them. This paper reviews an OECD study and discusses the findings in the context of bio-economic theory and fisheries policy measures. In 1997-99 the OECD Fisheries Committee studied GFTs and their impact on fisheries resource sustainability in OECD countries. Simple theoretical analysis shows that the expected effects depend on the type of transfer as well as on the management system in place. A survey of government financial transfers in 24 OECD member countries shows that at least USD 4.9 billion was spent on general services in 1997 – 13 per cent of the value of landings. General services include fisheries research, enforcement, management, enhancement and infrastructure. Most of these services are considered important for ensuring the sustainable use of fish stocks and the aquatic ecosystem. A further USD 1.4 billion was spent on support in the form of revenue enhancing and cost reducing transfers to the sector in 1997 – 4 per cent of the value of landings. Common examples include modernization subsidies, decommissioning payments, tax exemptions and income support. Due to insufficient data the study was unable to explore in detail the impact on fisheries sustainability of government financial transfers. Nevertheless, the study advanced the understanding of the impacts of transfers on the fisheries sector and some useful findings and assessments were made.
Keywords: Government financial transfers, bio-economics, fisheries management, capacity reduction.
Flaaten, O. and P. Wallis. Government Financial Transfers to Fishing Industries in OECD Countries. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.