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EU Proposes Cut to Subsidies Causing Overfishing

Lucy Towers
18 October 2016, at 1:00am

EU - The EU has called for World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks on fishery subsidies to avoid further depletion of worlds fish stocks.

Many countries around the world over subsidise their fishing activity in ways that contribute to overfishing.

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella wrote in a blog post: "A broad, multilateral agreement on harmful fishing subsidies will be key to safeguard the world's fisheries. We call upon other members of the WTO to join us in addressing this massive global challenge together, and to implement the commitments we made in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Negotiations should start immediately, in order to reach an agreement at the next WTO Ministerial Conference in December of next year."

The EU proposal is to address the two most harmful types of subsidies:

  1. subsidies that increase the capacity of fleets to catch fish that represent almost 60 per cent of all fisheries subsidies and lead directly to overfishing;
  2. subsidies granted to fishermen who engage in illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing.

While curbing harmful subsidies, the EU proposal foresees flexibility for developing countries and takes account of the needs of fishing communities in least developed and developing countries.

The proposal from the Commission has now been given the green light of EU Member States, and will be presented to all WTO members later this week.