WTO: fisheries subsidies and Fisheries Management Systems (in the WTO)

On 26 February 2011 I wrote a post on the reporting by the ICTSD on the February informal meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules, where fisheries subsidies were dicussed.

The Fisheries Forum Agency (FFA) has recently published on its website the January and Feburary issues of its "FFA Fisheries Trade News".

The article on fisheries subsidies negotiations gives a very detailed account of the work accomplished by negotiators from 7 to 11 February 2011.

One interesting feature of the very detailed information provided by the authors of the article comes at the end of it. It concerns the work done by the two ‘Friends of the chair’ who had to gather WTO Members' views "on what they considered to be the core elements of a fisheries management system (FMS)"

I reproduce hereunder the table published with the article with the synthesis of the work carried by the "facilitators" on fisheries management.

As mentioned by the authors of the article Fisheries Management can become an important part of new WTO rules on fisheries susbidies as the exceptions for developing countries to subsidy prohibitions could be made dependent on fulfilling minimum requirments in the management of fish resources.

Here is the link to the article:


Core/Mandatory Elements
Tools (i.e. indicative, not compulsory)
1) Institutions and legislative
(someone to ‘manage’ the FMS – a FM authority)
2) Stock assessment
Key: data collection to allow with a degree of certainty what one’s resource-base is and what is the level of outtake (i.e. an ‘output’ element)
Trend series to assess resource base
Level of sophistication depends on context
3) Fishing capacity
Count boats and measure composition of fleet (e.g. size), maybe also gear (i.e. an ‘input’ element)
Vessel registry (not necessarily for smallest boats though)
Licences/permits (depending upon fishery)
4) Fishing effort/capacity management
Utilisation of data on stocks and fishing capacity based on: a) input controls; b) output controls
Depending on fishery:
a) input controls (e.g. closed seasons, limits of gear or vessel size/numbers, etc)
b) output controls (e.g. total allowable catch, vessel-specific quotas, etc)
5) MCS – based on different levels of national/ supra-national authority
Key: some form of catch control is necessary to identify some form(s) of violation
Sampling, controls at port, fishing cooperative level, customary level, VMS and/or GPS onboard especially when operations in different zones, etc.
6) Enforcement
Administrative penalties
Indigenous methods (e.g. moral pressure)

No comments: