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The EU Proposes to Curb Subsidies Causing Overfishing in WTO Countries

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The EU Proposes to Curb Subsidies Causing Overfishing in WTO Countries

The EU Proposes to Curb Subsidies Causing Overfishing in WTO Countries
October 20
10:47 2016

The EU is proposing to restart talks on an international WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies to combat the further depletion of the world’s fish stocks and the devastation of natural habitats. Many countries the world over subsidise their fishing activity in ways that contribute to overfishing. While curbing harmful subsidies, the EU proposal foresees exceptions for developing countries, and takes account of the needs of local fishing communities in least developed and developing countries.

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella wrote in a blog post: “A broad, multilateral agreement on harmful fishing subsidies will be key to safeguarding the world’s fisheries. We call upon other members of the WTO to join us in addressing this massive global challenge together, and to implement the commitments we made in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Negotiations should start immediately, in order to reach an agreement at the next WTO Ministerial Conference in December of next year.”

The proposal from the Commission has now been given the green light of the EU Member States, for presentation to all WTO members. The proposal addresses two forms of harmful subsidies, namely those that directly increase the capacity of fleets to catch fish and those that contribute to illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing. While the rapidly growing capacity of industrial fleets needs to be addressed, subsistence fishing needs to be protected. The EU proposal is in line with commitments made in the UN Sustainable development goals to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies through the WTO by 2020. The EU is also acting at home, through its new common fisheries policy, which will ensure that all EU fish stocks are fished at a sustainable level by 2020 at the latest.

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