G-20 Nations Should Fulfill Commitment to Reduce Fossil Fuel Subsidies at Toronto Summit | Oceana

G-20 Nations Should Fulfill Commitment to Reduce Fossil Fuel Subsidies at Toronto Summit

Press Release Date: June 26, 2010

Location: Toronto


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

As leaders of the G-20 nations meet at the Toronto Summit this weekend, June 26 and 27, Oceana reminds them of their commitment to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. Fossil fuel subsidies are not only costly for governments, but also promote climate change and overfishing.

“Governments are paying companies to overfish our oceans,” said Andrew Sharpless, chief executive officer of Oceana. “It’s taxpayer-financed ocean depletion and it’s crazy. Cutting government subsidies that produce overcapacity in the world’s fishing fleets is the silver bullet to restoring our fisheries.”

Despite international consensus on the dire state of the oceans, many governments continue to provide major subsidies to their fishing sectors. These subsidies promote overfishing by pushing fleets to fish longer, harder and farther away than would otherwise be economically feasible. The fleets are overcapacity – as much as 2.5 times what is needed to fish at sustainable levels. Destructive fisheries subsidies are estimated to be at least $20 billion annually, an amount equal to approximately 25 percent of the value of the world catch.

In May, Mission Blue called on G-20 leaders to not further expand fishing subsidy programs and to make a strong outcome in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations a top priority. The letter expressed grave concern about the state of the world’s fisheries and was signed by nearly 70 Mission Blue participants, including world-renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, TED curator Chris Anderson, Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless, award-winning celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio, Glenn Close, Ed Norton and Chevy Chase, and leading fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly.