Agreement On Fisheries Subsidies : WTO

Agreement On Fisheries Subsidies : WTO

Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (AFS) was concluded at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial meeting.

  • It will prohibit subsidies from being provided for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and overfished stocks.
  • The agreement also prohibits providing subsidies for fishing on high seas, which are outside the jurisdiction of coastal countries and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations/ Arrangements.
  • 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.
  • They will have no obligation to implement disciplines for the specified period.
  • No prohibition has been imposed on a WTO Member regarding granting or maintaining subsidy to its vessel or operator as long as it is not carrying out IUU.
  • 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.
  • It will eliminate the subsidies granted to fishing vessels or fishing operators engaged in IUU fishing.
  • It will check large-scale IUU fishing which deprives coastal countries like India of fisheries resources, thereby significantly impacting the livelihoods of our fishing communities.
  • India is one of the lowest fisheries subsidisers despite such a large population and one of the disciplined nations in sustainably harnessing the fisheries resources.
  • India does not exploit the resources indiscriminately like other advanced fishing nations and India’s fisheries sector primarily depends on several millions of small-scale and traditional fishers.
  • Therefore, those WTO Members who have provided huge subsidies in the past, and engaged in large-scale industrial fishing, which is responsible for the depletion of fish stocks, should take more obligations to prohibit subsidies based on the ‘polluter pay principle’ and ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’.

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