WTO must not miss opportunity to end fisheries subsidies once and for all

Press release, 30 November 2020
Ahead of the World Trade Organization’s final talks on fisheries subsidies, IIED director Andrew Norton said:

“It is crucial the World Trade Organization (WTO) ends harmful fisheries subsidies once and for all. This is key to stopping overfishing, protecting the climate and tackling poverty.

“Subsidies overwhelmingly favour large, industrial fishing fleets – a major cause of overfishing and the destruction of marine ecosystems. They also put at risk the livelihoods of more than 120 million women, children and men who rely on small-scale fisheries in developing countries, and the nutrition of billions of people who depend on the ocean for their primary source of protein. 

“This meeting is the final opportunity for the WTO to step up and meet the UN goal to end fisheries subsidies, particularly those that reduce the cost of fuel, contributing to carbon emissions and environmental destruction. It is a crucial marker ahead of next year’s UN biodiversity conference in Kunming and climate summit in Glasgow that will help protect the ocean and the life that depends on it.”

Media enquiries

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Beth Herzfeld, IIED head of media, on +44(0)7503 643 332 or email beth.herzfeld@iied.org.

Notes to editors

  • The WTO’s final talks on fisheries subsidies are being held from 30 November to 4 December. 
  •  In 2018, governments spent about US$22 billion a year – 63% of all fisheries subsidies – on efforts to increase catches, such as securing access to distant waters and subsidising fuel costs.
  • In 2000, an estimated 20 million people worldwide could have avoided malnutrition if the trend in overfishing was reversed.