Australia makes payment to WTO fund to help poorer nations develop fisheries

Published on
December 7, 2022
WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Australia has provided AUS 2 million (USD 1.36 million, EUR 1.28 million) for a fund that will provide technical fisheries expertise to developing nations.

The funding comes as part of the World Trade Organization deal on fishery subsidies signed in June 2022.

The WTO is seeking USD 20 million (EUR 19 million) for the fund, which according to the Switzerland-headquartered international agency, “will be operated by the WTO with partner organizations to tap relevant expertise, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Bank Group.”

The money will be spent providing least-developed country (LDC) member-states with "targeted technical assistance and capacity building" on fisheries management for the purpose of implementing the deal, according to a WTO spokesperson.

The 2022 agreement curbs subsidies for vessels engaged in illegal fishing and targeting overfished species but doesn’t end subsidies that lead to overcapacity of fleets and overfishing. The deal does not require WTO members to report subsidy payments.

Major fishing powers like China – which self identifies as a developing nation at international fora and in U.N. organizations – have not yet committed to paying into the fund. Negotiators are expected to revisit issues not settled in this year’s deal for the WTO’s 13th ministerial meeting, scheduled to take place before 31 December, 2023.

Photo courtesy of B7 Photography/Shutterstock

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