A country can grant fisheries subsidies if it maintains stocks at a sustainable level: India’s proposal to the WTO
A member country of the World Trade Organization (WTO) can provide subsidies to its fishermen if it maintains stocks at a biologically sustainable level, according to a proposal submitted by India last month.
India also proposed that a country engaged in deep-sea fishing (fishing beyond 200 nautical miles from its coasts) could not provide fishing subsidies for 25 years from the date of entry into force of India. the agreement on fisheries subsidies, an official said.
Fishing in distant waters or in the territory of another country is a major problem when it comes to maintaining fish stocks at sustainable levels. Such activities lead to the depletion of fish stocks in the oceans and this occurs due to the use of highly mechanized vessels or boats for industrial fishing.
This agreement is under discussion between the 164 members of the WTO in Geneva.
These negotiations aim to discipline subsidies with the overall objective of having sustainable fishing and eliminating subsidies for IUU fishing (illegal, unreported and unregulated), and to prohibit subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. There are mainly three fishing zones: the territorial waters (12 nautical miles from the seashore), the EEZ (exclusive economic zones – 200 nautical miles) and the high seas. There are some developed countries that go to the high seas to exploit the fishing stock.
The current proposal submitted by India is gaining importance as it has stated that the draft text currently under negotiation is unbalanced.
“The current text is unbalanced and only when India’s suggestions (of its proposal) are considered and incorporated appropriately, only then will it be a balanced text for the negotiations. The current text cannot be the basis for negotiations because it is not balanced. Only when these suggestions are discussed, deliberated and somehow incorporated into the revised text, can India begin text-based negotiations, ” the official said.
At the WTO, member countries negotiate through a text to finalize an agreement.
The official added that the current draft text, which is under negotiation, does not offer a favorable political space for developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) which still have to develop their fishing capacities.
“Therefore, the polluter pays principle and the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities must be applied in accordance with popular demand from developing countries formulated at a meeting on July 15 this year,” said the manager.
India’s suggestion for a 25-year moratorium on countries that fish high seas is based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which has been adopted in 1995. He recognized the problems of overfishing and the depletion of fish stocks.
In addition, India also proposed that member countries engaged in high seas fishing after the entry into force of this agreement should reduce such activities by a certain specified percentage each year until overcapacity or overfishing persists. .
These proposals, said the official, are innovative and will go a long way towards achieving the desired goal of sustainable marine resources on a global scale.
The proposal also clarified that the 25-year ban on subsidies will not apply to LDCs; developing countries that support low-income and resource-poor fishing communities that engage in fishing activities in their territorial waters and EEZs, and developing countries that do not currently engage in deep-sea fishing.
In addition, the proposed restrictions would not apply to any developing country whose share of annual marine capture fish production is less than one percent of annual world marine capture fish production.
India’s proposal also said that countries engaged in high seas fishing will have to report certain details within 90 days of the agreement entering into force.
These details include the fishing vessels engaged in distant waters, as well as the names and details of those high seas.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)