WTO concludes draft text of Agreement on fisheries subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has finalized a draft text of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and will submit it for consideration next week.

Among its provisions, it establishes that no Member shall grant or maintain any subsidy to a vessel or an operator that practices illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) or activities related to fishing in support of IUU fishing.

In addition, the granting Member shall take into account the nature, severity and repetition of IUU fishing by a vessel or operator when setting the duration of the application of the established prohibition.

The established prohibition shall be applicable at least as long as the sanction resulting from the determination that triggered said prohibition remains in force, or at least as long as the vessel or operator appears on a list of a regional fisheries management organization or arrangement (RFMO / AROP ), whichever is the longest period.

Fisheries subsidies

Likewise, no Member shall grant or maintain subsidies for fishing or fishing-related activities in respect of an overexploited stock.

For the purposes of the corresponding article, a fish stock is overexploited if it has been recognized as such by the coastal Member in whose jurisdiction the fishing takes place or by a relevant RFMO / AROP in areas and for species under its jurisdiction, on the basis of of the best scientific data available.

At the same time, no Member shall grant or maintain subsidies to fishing or fishing-related activities that contribute to overcapacity or overfishing.

During 2016-2018, the 39 countries that reported government support data to the OECD together provided an average annual support of $ 9.4 billion to the fisheries sector.

This represented a gross transfer equivalent to approximately 10% of the average value of landings during that period, compared to 13.8% in 2012-2014.

“Any pact must recognize that countries are at different stages of development and that current fisheries agreements reflect their current economic capabilities,” said Indian Trade Minister Piyush Goyal at a WTO meeting in July.


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