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.

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




Introduction to fisheries subsidies in the WTO


Buenos Aires Ministerial Decision, 2017

18 December 2017


Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6

SDG 14.6, part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, affirms the WTO's role in the global fisheries subsidies agenda.

SDG 14.6 targets to “by 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation.”


2019 target

At the 11th Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires last December 2017, WTO members agreed to continue to engage constructively in the negotiations, with a view to adopting an agreement by the Ministerial Conference in 2019. When members then decided the next Ministerial Conference would be held in early June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, it was on the basis of the understanding that the 2019 deadline in the Buenos Aires Decision on Fisheries Subsidies would be upheld.


Current negotiations

After MC11, the Negotiating Group on Rules completed the streamlining of their negotiating texts into a single document and held technical sessions on a range of issues before the Group. The Negotiating Group also completed the Incubator Group brainstorming process, where smaller groups of WTO members worked on a total of 18 topics. All of these activities were aimed at developing inputs and paving the way for the resumed full negotiations in 2019.

For January to July 2019, the Group has agreed on a work programme of meetings which culminated in the endorsement of four working papers reflecting various positions members have on issues. Members also endorsed a schedule of meetings for September to December 2019. Summaries of these meetings are available here.

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External links


International instruments related to fisheries


Latest tweets about #FisheriesSubsidies from:wto




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