Growth Of Fisheries Sector Stunted By $22bn Subsidy Payment—Okonjo-Iweala

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has disclosed that over the last ten years, the growth of the fisheries sector has been stunted by the annual $22bn fisheries subsidies.

The DG was quoted to have disclosed this information in a statement she made at an Aid for Trade Global Review event, where a new report by the Secretariat was launched.

She said “According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented in the report, one telling statistic from the report, though, is that the assistance to sustainable marine fisheries over ten years is dwarfed by the annual $22bn in harmful fisheries subsidies.

“Eliminating these subsidies would unlock a huge amount of resources that could be redirected to promote and support sustainable fisheries management and practices by all members, including developing and least developing countries members.”

She also stressed the need to help developing country and LDC members, as the implementation will take time, effort and money.

“Financial assistance must be expanded to help developing and LDC members establish sustainable fisheries in light of the historic World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) agreement to curb harmful fishing subsidies,” she added.

The DG said the tasks ahead include integrating fisheries-related elements into subsidy policies and meeting new notification requirements, particularly on fisheries-related information.

She drew attention to the voluntary WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism, which is foreseen in the Agreement to fill gaps in existing assistance and thus ensure that beneficiaries have what they need to fully implement the new WTO rules.

The Fund will be operated by the WTO along with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“Donors to the Fund already have pledged around half of our initial target of $10m, and we are working to get it up and running quickly,” she said.

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