Negotiations on fisheries subsidies
WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies were launched in 2001 at the Doha Ministerial Conference, with a mandate to "clarify and improve" existing WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies. That mandate was elaborated in 2005 at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, including with a call for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.
Most recently, at the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference (MC11), ministers decided on a work programme to conclude the negotiations by aiming to adopt, at the 2019 Ministerial Conference, an agreement on fisheries subsidies which delivers on Sustainable Development Goal 14.6
The Doha negotiating mandate, 2001
Section on fisheries subsidies in the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration
The Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, 2005
Text of para 9-11 of Annex D of the Declaration
WTO members agreed to continue to engage constructively in the negotiations, with a view to adopting by the Ministerial Conference in 2019, an agreement on comprehensive and effective disciplines that prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The decision recognizes that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing country members and least-developed country members should be an integral part of the negotiations.
With this decision, the WTO has made a multilateral commitment to fulfil Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, which calls for the prohibition and elimination, by 2020, of fisheries subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing and to overcapacity and overfishing, with special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed country WTO members to be an integral part of the negotiations.