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.

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Introduction

Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, Ministerial Decision of 17 June 2022

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.

Mandate

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.

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International instruments related to fisheries

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The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies: What it does and what comes next

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