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Subsidy reform and distributive justice in fisheries

While most fisheries are already overexploited, many governments allocate capacity-enhancing subsidies to the fishing sector, encouraging further overfishing. Target 14.6 of Sustainable Development Goal 14 and WTO negotiations to eliminate harmful subsidies both call for action on reform. Although the impacts of subsidies on fishing stocks are relatively well understood, their impacts on distribution and equity are less so. This paper analyses and discusses options for addressing equity concerns in fisheries subsidy reform and calls for governments to consider the impacts of subsidies and subsidy reform on vulnerable social groups.

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Marine and coastal resources support the livelihoods of millions of poor people across the world. They also provide a range of critical ecosystem services to the rest of the economy. The connection between high seas and coastal waters where small-scale fishers are active is relatively unexplored but already, the need for an ocean governance system, which will protect both areas, is evident.

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