WWF calls for ban on fisheries subsidies ahead of WTO conference


The World Wildlife Fund the Nature (WWF) is calling for member governments of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to agree to end fisheries subsidies, ahead of the 11th WTO ministerial conference beginning Dec. 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In a position paper prepared for WTO members, WWF urges governments to reach an agreement to end subsidies that contribute to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“Subsidies are a key driver of overfishing, leading to overcapacity in fishing fleets and skewing production costs so that fishing operations continue when they would otherwise not make economic sense. Government support for illegal fishing should be banned without exceptions,” according to the WWF briefing document.

“Reining in the harmful effects of subsidized fishing has been on the WTO agenda for nearly two decades and it is long overdue for governments to reach a meaningful agreement,” said John Tanzer, leader for oceans practice with WWF.

“The renewed dialogue is encouraging. Still, there is no time to waste. Ocean ecosystems and fish stocks continue to decline in the face of unsustainable and unfair fishing activities that are fuelled, in many cases, by short-sighted government spending on subsidies,” he said.

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