From their 16-page special on the sea, here’s The Economist contrasting Icelandic and European Union fishing policies:
Iceland offers lessons for other countries. The essential elements of its policies are to give fishermen rights that offer a reasonable expectation of profitable long-term fishing by encouraging the conservation of stocks. The system is clear, open and fairly simple, and it is well policed. It thus enjoys the respect of fishermen. And it is based, crucially, upon scientists’ assessments of stocks, not politicians’ calculations of electoral advantage.
For years, the [European Union] has simultaneously discouraged and promoted fishing, even as stocks have declined. … Modernisation aid supposedly ended in 2005, but the union’s fisheries fund, which supports everything from aquaculture and sustainable development to the “adjustment” of the fleet, is set to spend €4.3 billion in 2007-13. Spain, the most voracious piscivore and the biggest recipient of aid, will get €1.13 billion.
In few EU countries is fishing economically crucial. Nowhere does it account for even 1% of GDP.
The cry for subsidised fuel arises largely because European boats must travel ever farther to find fish (as a general rule, it takes nearly half a tonne of fuel to catch one tonne of fish). [My emphasis.]
I’m not sure I agree with their conclusion that a derivatives market in fish would be a good idea, but I do like the excoriating tone of the review of the Common Fisheries Policy.