WTO Negotiations on Global Fisheries Subsidies
June 12, 2022
–June 15, 2022
WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies were launched in 2001 at the Doha Ministerial Conference, with a mandate to “clarify and improve” existing WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies. That mandate was elaborated in 2005 at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, including with a call for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. At the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference (MC11), ministers decided on a work program to conclude the negotiations by aiming to adopt, at the next Ministerial Conference, an agreement on fisheries subsidies which delivers on Sustainable Development Goal 14.6. The Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) was originally due to take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 but was postponed due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which led to the imposition of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Despite constraints, members have made much progress in the negotiations, and ocean conservation stakeholders are pressing the WTO to reach a final deal at MC12 to curb harmful fisheries subsidies.