Koya: Securing well-balanced fisheries subsidies agreement a priority for the Pacific

Fiji’s Minister for Commerce and Trade Faiyaz Koya delivers his opening remark at the virtual Pacific ACP WTO Trade Ministers meeting today (November 25). Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

Securing a well-balanced and equitable Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, which provides flexibility to small island developing states (SIDS) to build their fisheries sector, is a priority for the Pacific.

Fiji’s Minister for Commerce and Trade Faiyaz Koya made the comment in his opening remark at the virtual Pacific ACP WTO Trade Ministers meeting today.

He said the agreement should afford protection to traditional and small scale fishers and fulfil the mandate of sustainability and development.

“The WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement can be an important tool to reduce harmful subsidies used by Distant Water Fishing Nations in our waters and complements our national and regional fisheries management efforts,” Mr Koya said.

“Most importantly, this agreement must address the development interests of our members in line with the special and differential treatment for developing countries required in the SDG 14.6 mandate.

“The Pacific combined use a negligible amount of subsidies and contribute very little to the decline in global fish stocks – in we maintain the healthiest fish stocks. Our fishing grounds need to be protected from IUU fishing.

“This agreement must, therefore, take account of the interests of Pacific members now and into the future, by preserving access fees, which are important revenue sources for many of our members. Providing flexibility for small-scale and artisanal fishing for livelihood security. And securing policy space to build our fishing capacity in future.”

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