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 next Ministerial Conference, an agreement on fisheries subsidies which delivers on Sustainable Development Goal 14.6
Buenos Aires Ministerial Decision, 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.”
Based on the mandate fixed under the Ministerial Decision from the WTO's 11th Ministerial Conference, and the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 14.6, negotiators are expected to secure an agreement in 2020 for disciplines eliminating subsidies to IUU fishing and for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, with special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries.
Draft text on fisheries subsidies
The chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, introduced on 30 June 2021 a revised draft text on fisheries subsidies to reflect the marathon discussions among members and to facilitate discussions at the 15 July 2021 meeting of ministers. The text and the chair's explanatory statement is available here.
- The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020, FAO
- The Sunken Billions Revisited, World Bank
- Relative Effects of Fisheries Support Policies, OECD
- Fisheries Support Estimate Database, OECD
- OECD Review of Fisheries 2020
International instruments related to fisheries
- Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
- FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
- Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
- FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
- Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
- FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance
- FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
- Declaration Concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean
- FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes