Friday 30th November 2007. The World Trade Organisation proposed the elimination of most subsidies for the fishing industry in a compromise package submitted to the global body’s 151 members. The text proposes the elimination of subsidies for the acquisition, construction, repair, renewal, renovation, modernization, or any other modification of fishing vessels or service vessels, including subsidies to boat building or shipbuilding facilities for these purposes.
The text also proposes the elimination of:
- Subsidies the benefits of which are conferred on transfer of fishing or service vessels to third countries, including through the creation of joint enterprises with third country partners.
- Subsidies the benefits of which are conferred on operating costs of fishing or service vessels (including licence fees or similar charges, fuel, ice, bait, personnel, social charges, insurance, gear, and at-sea support); or of landing, handling or in- or near-port processing activities for products of marine wild capture fishing; or subsidies to cover operating losses of such vessels or activities.
- Subsidies in respect of, or in the form of, port infrastructure or other physical port facilities exclusively or predominantly for activities related to marine wild capture fishing (for example, fish landing facilities, fish storage facilities, and in- or near-port fish processing facilities).
- Income support for natural or legal persons engaged in marine wild capture fishing.
- Price support for products of marine wild capture fishing.
- Subsidies arising from the further transfer, by a payer Member government, of access rights that it has acquired from another Member government to fisheries within the jurisdiction of such other Member.
- Subsidies the benefits of which are conferred on any vessel engaged in illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing.
I/ Subsidies exclusively for improving fishing or service vessel and crew safety shall not be prohibited, provided that:
- Such subsidies do not involve new vessel construction or vessel acquisition;
- Such subsidies do not give rise to any increase in marine wild capture fishing capacity of any fishing or service vessel, on the basis of gross tonnage, volume of fish hold, engine power, or on any other basis, and do not have the effect of maintaining in operation any such vessel that otherwise would be withdrawn; and the improvements are undertaken to comply with safety standards.
II/ Subsidies exclusively for:
- The adoption of gear for selective fishing techniques;
- The adoption of other techniques aimed at reducing the environmental impact of marine wild capture fishing;
- Compliance with fisheries management regimes aimed at sustainable use and conservation (e.g., devices for Vessel Monitoring Systems); provided that the subsidies do not give rise to any increase in the marine wild capture fishing capacity of any fishing or service vessel, on the basis of gross tonnage, volume of fish hold, engine power, or on any other basis, and do not have the effect of maintaining in operation any such vessel that otherwise would be withdrawn.