An update on WTO negotiations to end subsidies for fisheries

by TNP Editor 2021-5-5

The World Trade Organization (WTO), under the direction of its new director-general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is making the protection of global fish stock from over fishing a top priority for WTO this year.


Okonjo-Iweala sees reaching the multilateral agreement in 2021 a key goal for her and critical to a ‘Watershed’ year for WTO.

A virtual conference is planned for July 2021 to negotiate and seal an accord to reduce or end subsidies for fisheries.

Besides enacting rules to eliminate ‘harmful subsidies’ and enforce sustainable fishing disciplines, key issues for the WTO talks include the type and extent of exemptions to be granted to developed and developing nations under the new accord.

Many seafaring nations aim at protecting their fishing fleets and coastal industries. On-going aids to their fisheries could range from fleet building grants to fuel subsidies.

world fishing employment

The top five providers of fisheries subsidies are China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and South Korea, whereas about 85% of the world’s commercial fishing employment, totaling 50 million people, is in Asia, according to the United Nations.