Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This thesis provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the circumstances which surrounded the successful imposition of a countervailing duty on whole Canadian groundfish, and indicates what implications this action may have for the future. First, it will situate the countervailing duty investigation in terms of its relationship with U.S. statutes, and also with the Nation's international obligations. Then, the impact of the duty is examined to see how it might affect a potential free trade agreement with Canada. Similarly, the thesis projects what effect the duty will have in establishing a precedent, and assesses the likelihood of imposing similar duties on other imported seafood products. Finally, the actual case is presented in detail, so as to reveal what constituted an illegal "subsidy," and to explain what "material injury" meant in this instance. Upon conclusion, it will become evident that fundamental inadequacies currently exist in both the U.S. countervailing duty statutes and the international agreements from which the U.S. statutes are derived. Furthermore, significant discrepancies exist between these two interrelated bodies of law. Therefore, it is likely that the current countervailing duty legislation will need to be amended. The investigation will probably not provide a great deal of assistance in analyzing the possibility of imposing countervailing duties on other fish products. While it further clarified the meaning of an illegal "subsidy," and illustrated one instance where "material injury" was present, other questions remained unanswered. Inevitably, each case will possess its own nuances. Because of the complexity and flexibility of the legislation, predicting the outcome of a case will remain subject to uncertainty. Uncertainty will also surround the free trade negotiations between Canada and the United States. Because New England fishermen stand to "lose out" in such an arrangement, the countervailing duty will probably be employed as a "bargaining chip" in the negotiations. In actuality, the imposition of a duty on Canadian groundfish resulted in very few positive implications. Rather, it served to illustrate that the competitive position of the U.S. fishing industry is eroding. Unless changes are instituted by both the U.S. industry and by the government, competition from imports is likely to increase, with or without a countervailing duty.