Exempt Small-Scale Fishers From Subsidy Ban, FG Tells WTO

The Federal Government has advised the World Trade Organisation to remove small scale and artisanal fishers from fisheries subsidies.

The FG stated its position just after the WTO Director General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the fisheries agreement must be reached before the end of 2021.

“I wouldn’t call it too much hope,I think we must finish this negotiation before the end of the year,” she said in a monitored meeting hosted by the Atlantic Council.

The scope of the fisheries subsidies discipline is currently under negotiation at the World Trade Organisation.

The WTO had said that such subsidies threatened the sustainability of fishing. But its removal would help to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, during a virtual meeting of the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee at the Ministerial Level on Fisheries Subsidies said the agreement should consider small scale fishing nations.

He said, “I wish to assure you of Nigeria’s support and commitment to proactively engage with all Members towards achieving a balanced outcome in line with our mandate.

“To conclude an agreement to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognising that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing countries and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation.”

Adebayo called for appropriate special and differential treatment provisions for developing countries and least developed countries.

He added, “These unsustainable practices have resulted in rapid depletion of global marine fish stocks.

“After 20 years of negotiations, I believe it is time for us to draw the curtain on the Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations.

“Nigeria would continue to support WTO and show requisite flexibilities so we can collectively achieve balanced outcomes consistent with SDG 14.6 and our mandate.”

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