The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (Agreement) at the WTO Ministerial meeting

Source: The post is based on the article The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (Agreement) at the WTO Ministerial meetingpublished in PIB on 22nd July 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of Commerce and Industry has informed Rajya Sabha about Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

What is the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies?

The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies was adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference(MC12).

The agreement marks a major step forward for ocean sustainability by prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks.

What are the key provisions of the agreement?

Prohibition: The agreement prohibits the following

a) Subsidies from being provided for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and overfished stocks, b) subsidies for fishing on high seas, which are outside the jurisdiction of coastal countries and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations/ Arrangements (RFMO/As). 

Transition period: Under the Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT), Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been allowed a transition period of two years from the date of entry into force of this Agreement.  

Exceptions to Prohibition: 1) Granting or maintaining subsidy to its vessel or operator as long as it is not carrying out Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, 2) No prohibition on providing subsidies has been imposed for fishing regarding overfished stocks as long as such subsidies are implemented to rebuild the stock to a biologically sustainable level.

Significance of this agreement: The agreement will eliminate the subsidies granted to fishing vessels or fishing operators engaged in IUU fishing. Such disciplining will check large-scale IUU fishing which deprives coastal countries like India of fisheries resources, thereby significantly impacting the livelihoods of fishing communities.

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