WTO member states delay action to end harmful fisheries subsidies

Posted on 16 July 2021

The Special Ministerial meeting convened yesterday by the World Trade Organization (WTO) intended to advance progress to reach an agreement to end harmful fishing subsidies has yet to close the deal. Instead, according to the WTO, member states have agreed to adopt the agreement before the next ministerial conference at the end of November. 

“While we applaud the efforts of the WTO Director General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the negotiations chair, Ambassador Santiago Wills, who have brought new momentum and increased visibility to these negotiations, we are not seeing the same commitment and leadership from member states," said Anna Holl, senior expert on international fisheries policy at WWF-Germany. "This result allows the status quo -- harmful fisheries subsidies that incentivize overfishing, overcapacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing -- to continue. The political unwillingness of the WTO member states to take decisive action continues to put the health of marine ecosystems, global fish stocks and the livelihoods and nutrition of coastal communities at risk."
WWF urges the WTO Director General and Ambassador Wills to continue resolutely on the path to support a successful conclusion of these negotiations. After 20 years of negotiations, member states have an obligation to show political will and honour the commitments already made to finally reach agreement. This is vital to secure a healthy and resilient ocean that can continue to provide for the many millions who depend on it, now and into the future. 
Deep sea fishing: Landing the catch on a deep sea trawler North Atlantic Ocean
© Mike R. Jackson / WWF