A paper by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) cautions that the reluctance by some WTO Members to strengthen rules against subsidies to small fishing vessels threatens to undermine a potential agreement that would discipline fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing.
As part of the on-going Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, subsidies to the fisheries sector have been given special attention.
The European Union fisheries sector is firmly part of the global fisheries crisis. In Europe more than 80% of known resources are over-fished, while overseas EU fleets have done more than their share to bring commercial productivity of the oceans to an all-time low.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released a study on fuel subsidies to the fisheries sector in Europe, at a time when the European Commission (EC) is considering raising the limit on financial support that EU governments can provide to their fishing fleets without notifying the EC.
Last November the EC published draft regulations that would raise the de minimis ceiling on state aid to the fisheries sector from € 3000 to € 30 000. The EC has said that the current de minimis ceiling is too low, and raising it would cut down on unnecessary bureaucracy.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has published a series of documents relating to a roundtable on subsidies and sustainable development held in São Paulo, Brazil, last June. The roundtable brought together some 40 experts from academia, international organizations and public and private sectors to discuss the role that subsidies can play in both fostering and hindering sustainable development.