NEGOTIATIONS ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES

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Following a similar structure to the first cluster of meetings held in May, the June meetings started with a technical session where members and experts from fisheries management organizations presented information on fish stock assessment processes and experiences. Members then held a thematic discussion focused on issues arising from disciplines on subsidies for fishing in overfished stocks, including special and differential treatment for developing country and least developed country (LDC) members. Time was allotted for bilateral meetings among members as well.

Members also worked on streamlining various proposals related to definitions of terms and concepts that appear in the negotiating texts. The latest version of the document containing the streamlined texts, including those prepared in the run up to the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) held last December in Buenos Aires, is available here.

“The discussion brought back to light the many complex issues related to subsidies for fishing in overfished stocks, which will need to be resolved for us to make progress in our work,” the chair of the Negotiating Group, Ambassador Roberto Zapata Barradas (Mexico), said at the concluding session of the meeting. “I am heartened by the high level of engagement and new suggestions from some members throughout the discussion.”

As outlined in the agreed work programme, the next cluster of meetings will be held on 23-25 July to discuss subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The chair said that before then, he would be inviting interested delegations for consultations over the next steps beyond the current work programme, which ends in July. Several members said they would like to return to text-based negotiations after the August summer break, noting that members had committed at the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) to adopting an agreement by the next Ministerial Conference in 2019.

The MC11 ministerial decision is available here.

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