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International Negotiations

Published: 16/03/2011

Since overfishing is a global problem, the international debate has focussed on how to exploit marine resources in a responsible and sustainable manner.

An important part of this work is to make sure that fishing capacity is in line with the existing resources. For many years now, there have been discussions in various international fora, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regarding the role of subsidies and how to jointly limit harmful subsidies that distort competition.

The major policy forum in which fisheries subsidies are being addressed is the WTO, where discussions take part in the Negotiating Group on Rules. The previous chairman of the Rules group suggested that subsidies for the construction of new vessels and for operating costs should be prohibited. Proposals on how to resolve this issue have been submitted from various members of the group. However, at the time of writing, the issue remains unresolved.