Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) has joined 173 other organisations in calling on world leaders to end harmful fisheries subsidies before the end of 2020. The final round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations begins today, providing a key opportunity for governments to put a stop to harmful subsidies. The group statement insists that, after nearly 20 years of negotiations, now is the moment for world leaders to work together to reach a meaningful agreement to stop harmful fisheries subsidies and deliver the UN goal for their elimination by 2020.
More than 90 per cent of global fish stocks are either fully exploited or overexploited. In 2018, it was estimated that US$35.4 billion of public money was paid to global fisheries in subsidies and that a staggering US$22.2 billion of these were harmful, capacity-enhancing subsidies that promote this kind of overfishing.
At a time when the world’s fish stocks are being dangerously depleted, these subsidies slash operating costs and keep boats out at sea when they otherwise would not be, with many of the subsidies going to large-scale industrial fishing operations.
Charles Clover, Executive Director of Blue Marine Foundation, said: “After almost two decades of negotiations, the WTO – and our oceans – have run out of time. Harmful subsidies make no sense, economically or environmentally, and we cannot miss this opportunity to end them for good, for the benefit of our oceans and the millions of people who depend on healthy fish stocks for their income and survival.”
The final round of WTO negotiations begins today, and it is vital that an effective agreement is reached in order to successfully deliver on the Sustainable Development Goal 14 mandate by the 2020 deadline.