NEGOTIATIONS ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES
“As we mark World Fisheries Day, it is important to be reminded of the perilous state of the world's fish stocks, which jeopardizes the livelihoods of some 39 million people around the world who are dependent on capture fisheries,” the chair said. “The World Trade Organization's negotiations on fisheries subsidies have an important role here, with delegations working hard to fulfil the mandate from Heads of Government in the Sustainable Development Goals, and the mandate from WTO Ministers, to curb harmful fisheries subsidies that deplete global fish stocks.”
“These are unquestionably very complex and sensitive issues, and these are very challenging times in which to pursue such an ambitious negotiating agenda, as COVID-19 related restrictions have required major changes to how we conduct our business. I am very pleased that in spite of these challenges, all WTO members are remaining deeply and substantively engaged, and are maintaining a clear commitment to a meaningful outcome,” he said. “The end is in sight for these negotiations. We have an opportunity, not to be missed, for the world to come together and exercise our collective responsibility for our precious fisheries resources, for the good of the ocean and of the fisherfolk that rely on it.”
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At the heads of delegation (HoDs) meeting on fisheries subsidies on 20 November, members expressed general support for the schedule of meetings for the next two weeks. Members will meet almost daily, including at the HoDs level, to work on the basis of the chair's revised consolidated draft text and search for acceptable compromises that will pave the way for the conclusion of negotiations.
Based on the mandate from the WTO's 11th Ministerial Conference, and the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 14.6, negotiators have been given the task of securing an agreement in 2020 on disciplines to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, with special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries.