Commercial fishing accounts for only less than 1% of the US economy, yet American taxpayers doled out more than $6.4 billion in subsidies to the commercial fishing industry between 1996 and 2004, possibly accelerating the collapse of fish stocks worldwide and adding to the devastation of large ocean fish species. 44 percent of federal and state subsidies go toward fuel for fishing fleets. Supporting fuel costs has may not only helped promote the needless expansion of commercial fishing operations, it has also likely caused wasteful fuel consumption, air and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change. The US fishing industry uses 800 million gallons of fuel each year. While not the only industry to receive hefty fuel subsidies, they nonetheless provide commercial fishing operations with less incentives to conserve.
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