Eliminating harmful fishing subsidies

WWF is urging policy makers to develop effective international trade rules that will reduce or eliminate harmful fishing subsidies - without reducing the ability of governments to support activities that conserve marine resources, promote secure livelihoods and/or encourage sustainable development.
Back in 2001, WWF was instrumental in making the World Trade Organization (WTO) agree to include fishing subsidies reform in the trade negotiating mandate. Then in 2005, WTO members committed to draft rules to phase out subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

Following these commitments, we now have a unique opportunity to develop binding and effective new rules to prohibit subsidies that promote unsustainable outcomes. 

We also have the chance to develop clear criteria that allow fishing subsidies which promote sustainable fisheries management. 


Our current work includes:

  • providing input into  WTO negotiations on reforming fishing subsidies.
  • developing detailed proposals and approaches on how to balance subsidy reform with the provision of legitimate financial subsidies that conserve marine resources.
  • calling for intergovernmental organizations other than the WTO to play a role in regulating these subsidies.
 / ©: WWF
What's the catch postcard
© WWF
Government subsidies account for nearly 20% of revenues to the fishing industry worldwide.

These subsidies encourage overfishing, and can harm local fishing industries and distort international markets.

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