According to a 2010 study, A bottom-up re-estimation of global fisheries subsidies, overfishing subsidies total an estimated $16 billion annually, which is equivalent to roughly 25 percent of the value of the world fish catch.
Furthermore, fuel subsidies allow high seas trawling fleets (operations that would not even be economical without the support of these subsidies) to mine for slow-growing marine species. The fishing methods employed also destroy centuries old deep sea corals and scrape sponges from the seafloor, which are crushed in the process.
The bottom line is that these subsidies distort free market forces and have produced a global fishing armada that is up to 250 percent larger than required to fish at sustainable levels.
Perhaps even more disturbing, however, is the fact that these harmful fisheries subsidies are one of the primary drivers of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, also known as pirate fishing.
The pirate fishing industry pulls $4 billion to $9 billion in fish out of the water every year, dealing a severe blow to developing nations highly dependent upon fish as a major source of income and protein.
In 2005 and 2006, Oceana documented numerous boats in the Mediterranean using driftnets. Many of these operators were recipients of an EU program providing €200 million ($240 million at the time) to convert to legal nets.