Public-aided crises in the French fishing sector

Type Article
Date 2008-09
Language English
Author(s) Mesnil Benoit
Affiliation(s) IFREMER, Dept EMH, F-44311 Nantes, France.
Source Ocean & Coastal Management (0964-5691) (Elsevier), 2008-09 , Vol. 51 , N. 10 , P. 689-700
DOI 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2008.07.009
WOS© Times Cited 30
Keyword(s) France, subsidies, fisheries policies
Abstract According to the media the French fishing industry has been in permanent state of crisis for the last 40 years. This paper recounts the events surrounding three major episodes of crises (late 1970s, mid-1990s, and early 2000s), and the measures taken by governments to resolve them. Invariably, these involved the distribution of sizeable amounts of public aids, in different forms, to the fishing sector. The efficacy of the subsidy programmes is discussed with reference to the goals stated by their proponents, regarding trade balance, competitiveness, profitability, employment and safety. Overall, the massive aids granted to the sector (comparable with the gross value of landings, annually) have not achieved the stated objectives and, paradoxically, have been a key factor in the eruption of subsequent crises, notably because they were granted without conditions of genuine changes in the industry's practices. The supreme paradox is that the succession of turbulent demonstrations over the years was the result of aid programmes devised with the overriding objective of preserving social peace.
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