SRI LANKA: fishermen union take to the streets if deprived from fuel fisheries subsidies

I found this very interesting video in Youtube:


US: Fisheries subsidies negotiations alive and kicking… at the TPP

Several articles in the Japanese press report on Japan’s (and Canada’s) alleged positions in on fisheries subsidies rules in the framework of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Contrary to the WTO, where negotiating positions are made public by way of written submissions, there is little information about the exact content of the proposed rules and of the positions of the participating countries.

From the articles it appears that Japan is opposing proposals by key TPP players (US, New Zealand, Australia) to introduce far reaching prohibitions on fisheries subsidies. The online article of 9 June 2013 by “The Japan Times” mentions that:

"If the interdiction is implemented by the 11 current TPP member states, the government will call for its scope to be limited to subsidies that would unquestionably lead to overfishing, as the Japanese fishing industry heavily depends on this source of funding, according to the sources.

The government’s position also reflects concern the ban may include subsidies for the construction of ports and other infrastructure, hindering recovery efforts in coastal regions where the 2011 earthquake and tsunami ravaged local fishing industries.

But the issue is far from a done deal, as differences remain between countries including the United States, Australia and New Zealand, which are hoping to protect the environment and fishing resources through the measure, and other TPP countries that are still opposed.

Japan will become the 12th member of the TPP negotiations during the next round from July 15 to 25 in Malaysia, but it has yet to obtain official documents detailing the discussions to date. The TPP members aim to agree on a Pacific Rim trade liberalization framework by the end of the year.

The information the government has collected so far on the subsidy ban from participating countries points to the possibility of the measure being comprehensive with only a limited number of exceptions, such as subsidies for installing distress signal equipment, the sources said.

A number of officials in Tokyo fear such a ban among the TPP nations could hand the fishing industries of non-member countries such as China and South Korea the advantage over Japan’s."
It would be interesting to know whether the proposed prohibition apply in the same way to developed and developing TPP countries. At the WTO negotiations developing countries have consistently asked for wide ranging exceptions from subsidy prohibitions.

Also interesting to know is Canada’s position on this subject. The article refers to Canada as opposing the proposals by the US, New Zealand and Australia.

Here is the link to the article:


The online edition (13 July 2013) of “The Hindu” reported on an increase in the budget allocated to fuel subsidies to fishermen in the State of Karnataka. The article states that:

“To tackle the increasing overheads of mechanised fishing, the quantity of tax-free diesel for around 3,500 mechanised boats has been increased to 1.5 lakh kilolitres in this Friday’s Budget, up from 1.3 lakh kilolitres.
“This is is nearly 25 per cent more than the subsidy given last year…It’s a fantastic budget for fishermen. The focus on fishermen’s welfare scheme and of those owning boats will greatly help the sector,” said Loknath Bolar, vice president, Coastal Karnataka Fishermen Action Committee.
Similarly, the hike in kerosene oil allocation for traditional boats from 150 litres to 400 litres per month has met a “15-year demand”, said Mohan Bengre, a committee member at Karnataka Purse-seine Meenugarara Sangha.”

Note: 1.5 lakh is 5 million rupees or 85,000 USD and 1.3 is 3 million rupees or 51,000 USD (28 July 2013 exchange rates).

The article also mentions subsidies for fishermen’s welfare (construction of houses), for fishing infrastructure (e.g. ports and roads to ports) and for training.

Here is the link to the article:


CHINA: interesting paper on Chinese fisheries subsidies

Here is a link to a "Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Secretariat paper" titled:

"Fisheries Subsidies and incentives provided by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to its Distant Water Fishing (DWF) Industry"

The title is self-explanatory.


RUSSIA: negotiations on a fisheries agreement with Mauritania

Here is another Russian fisheries agreement: one with Mauritania.

The negotiations seem to be influenced by the EU-Mauritania fisheries agreement.

Here is a link on the Russia-Mauritania negotiations and the threat, by the Head of Russia's Federal Mr. Krainy, of a WTO complaint against the EU because of unfair competition.

According to "The Voice of Russia" (see link to article) the complaint will first go through an internal Russian process, or as put in the article: 

"Now Russia's complaint will be considered at the country’s Economic Development Ministry to be later discussed between all sides involved. If no solution is made at this stage, the petition will be submitted directly to the WTO."

I wonder what effect could have such a WTO challenge on coastal states that have fisheries agreements with the EU, Russia or other nations with distant water fleets.


RUSSIA: fisheries agreement with Morocco

The Russian Federation, now a WTO Member, has renewed a fisheries agreement with Morocco.

It seems that this is the 6th agreement signed between Morocco and the Russian Federation, since 1992.

Here a few links on the renewal of the Agreement: