Fisheries subsidy priority for Pacific

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A fishing vessel at the Port of Suva. Picture: FILE

Pacific member states of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) trade bloc will prioritise the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement at the World Trade Organisation’s 13th ministerial conference (MC13) that begins in Abu Dhabi next week.

This was conveyed by Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat General Secretary Henry Puna during the Pacific ACP WTO trade ministers meeting at the Forum Secretariat in Suva on Wednesday.

“This agreement will focus on the prohibition of subsidies that support overcapacity and overfishing,” Mr Puna said.

“This is the most important pillar but also the most complex. Pacific ACP Members have been calling for strong disciplines on the top subsidisers with appropriate flexibility or policy space for developing countries to develop their fisheries sector in future.

“An agreement on fisheries subsidies will contribute to the 2050 Strategy thematic pillar on Oceans and Environment and will also fully deliver on SDG 14.6.”

So far, 60 ACP-member states have ratified the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement including Fiji being the first from the Pacific to do so.

Minister for Trade Manoa Kamikamica, earlier this week said, Fiji was resolute in addressing “the critical issue of fisheries subsidies” at MC13.

“This matter stands as our paramount priority, we advocate for an outcome that fully aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 14.6. We remain resolute in our determination to achieve a comprehensive agreement that meaningfully addresses overcapacity and overfishing, while providing appropriate and effective special and differential treatment,” Mr Kamikamica said.

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