The New Zealand Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organisation hosted a seminar in the WTO on Progressing Fisheries Subsidies Reform Post-Nairobi on 26 April 2016.

The event was chaired by New Zealand Ambassador to the WTO, Vangelis Vitalis.

Panel speakers included Ambassador Guillermo Vallés, Director for International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities at UNCTAD; Alice Tipping, Senior Programme Officer, Environmental and Natural Resources at ICTSD; and James Brown, First Secretary at the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the WTO.

When it comes to global fisheries subsidies the numbers are stark: subsidies amount to approximately US$35 billion a year and the economic loss from the mismanagement of fisheries is estimated to be US$50-70 billion a year.

Beyond the economic cost is the detrimental impact on the environment, trade, food security and on development more broadly: almost a third of global stocks are estimated to be overfished.

It is for this reason that 193 States agreed to a Sustainable Development Goal that includes a target to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies by 2020 (Target 14.6) in September 2015.

Ms Tipping presented a recent E15 Initiative report on these issues, offering fresh thinking on the key challenges and opportunities for improving the management of the world’s oceans and fisheries.

Ambassador Vallés and Mr Brown provided their own reactions to the report, which identified five policy options on fisheries subsidies:

  • develop reliable data on fisheries subsidies
  • adopt fisheries subsidies disciplines among a core group of countries
  • establish multilateral disciplines built stepwise and bottom-up
  • restart WTO negotiations based on areas of relative agreement
  • align incentives by focusing negotiations on international fish stocks.

Read more

E15 Policy Options Paper (external link)

Ambassador Vallés Presentation (external link)

James Brown Talking Points [PDF, 83 KB]