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I wanted to write something else, but haven’t finished doing the homework.

The Economist's Green View has a fascinating piece that offers a fascinating by-catch from Copenhagen: reduced fishing. Globally, fishing is a disaster.

Landlubbers hand pots of money to fishermen. Rashid Sumaila, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, estimates that in 2003 (the most recent year for which data are available), the world’s fishing subsidies were $25 billion-30 billion. The value of fish landed in the same year was $82 billion. Furthermore, Dr Sumaila reckons that $16 billion of the subsidies either promote overcapacity by helping fishermen buy new or bigger boats or encourage overfishing by subsidising fuel.

Of course no one country wants to stop, beggar my neighbour be buggered. But Green View perceives a wrinkle; much of the subsidy goes for fuel.

On September 25th leaders of the G20 group of countries said they would phase out fossil-fuel subsidies in the “medium term”. So unless the world’s fishing fleets convert to biofuels, there may be some hope for dealing with the subsidy of overfishing. ...

The recent banking crisis has so far swallowed about $3 trillion dollars and caused great outrage. Over the past decade, fishing subsidies have cost $250m. If there were only a twelfth of the outcry, your correspondent suspects that the practice would be halted.

I’m not holding my breath. I’m not eating much fish either.

2021-11-03: Funny to read this 13 years on, as our “leaders” gather in Glasgow for another COP meeting. Did they phase out fossil-fuel subsidies? Did they fuck. Are they still subsidising overfishing? You know they are.

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