Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies
The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) on 17 June 2022, marks a major step forward for ocean sustainability by prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks. The Agreement represents a historic achievement for the membership as the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to be fully met, the first SDG target met through a multilateral agreement, the first WTO agreement to focus on the environment, the first broad, binding, multilateral agreement on ocean sustainability, and only the second agreement reached at the WTO since its inception.
For the Agreement to become operational, two-thirds of members have to deposit their “instruments of acceptance” with the WTO. Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13 for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.
Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, Ministerial Decision of 17 June 2022
Members submitting acceptance of the Agreement
For the Agreement to enter into force, two-thirds of WTO members must formally accept the Protocol of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies by depositing an “instrument of acceptance” with the WTO.
Instruments of acceptance
Information for members on how to deposit their “instruments of acceptance” of the protocol of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies can be accessed here.
Fisheries Funding Mechanism
As part of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, members endorsed the establishment of a new funding mechanism to accept voluntary contributions, with the aim of providing technical assistance to developing country members to help them implement the Agreement.
The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies delivers on the mandate from the 11th Ministerial Conference, as contained in the Buenos Aires Ministerial Decision, and on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6, which is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, and affirms the WTO's role in the global fisheries subsidies agenda.
- The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022, FAO
- The Sunken Billions Revisited, World Bank
- Eliminating government support to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
- Relative Effects of Fisheries Support Policies, OECD
- Fisheries Support Estimate Database, OECD
- OECD Review of Fisheries 2020
International instruments related to fisheries
- Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
- FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
- Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
- FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
- Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
- FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance
- FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
- Declaration Concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean
- FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies: What it does and what comes next
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