DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I warmly welcome South Africa's acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies at MC13. Ending on such a high note at the closing session of MC13 underlines the important work ahead of implementing this historic agreement for ocean sustainability. I hope South Africa's support motivates remaining WTO members to follow suit so we can enter the Agreement into force.”

South Africa's instrument of acceptance brings the total number of WTO members that have formally accepted the Agreement to 71. Thirty-nine more formal acceptances are needed for the Agreement to come into effect. The Agreement will enter into force upon acceptance of its legal instrument by two-thirds of the membership.

Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new, binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks. In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.

The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.

Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.

The full text of the Agreement can be accessed here. The list of members that have deposited their instruments of acceptance is available here. Information for members on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment is available here.




Problems viewing this page? If so, please contact [email protected] giving details of the operating system and web browser you are using.