WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies are now entering the final stage. After two decades of dialogue, trade ministers from 164 countries are resolved to secure an agreement ahead of the ministerial conference of 15 July this year. The European fishing industry represented by Europêche fully sustains the need to curb harmful subsidies globally, similarly to what has been done in the EU in the early 2000’s. In this direction, the fishing sector calls on EU institutions and Member states to defend the public aid system established under EU legislation, including the newly adopted Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFAF). Likewise, the sector urges the EU not to succumb to external pressure and defend fuel tax relief schemes. The opposite will drive the fleet to ruin.
European authorities have set a steady course to make the EU the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Zero-pollution, preservation of biodiversity as well as healthy and environmentally friendly food systems are some of the priorities that will influence all EU polices in the upcoming years. The European fishing industry has taken a front-runner position, confirming a remarkable cut of its greenhouse gas emissions over the last 30 years while producing the perfect protein for our diets. Europêche seeks now a new narrative that recognises the sector as part of the solution to global environmental threats. Europêche is ready to challenge some of the myths surrounding the fishing industry and show the hard work of fishers that goes into putting sustainable seafood on our plates, reminding that EU-produced wild fish is the healthiest and lowest carbon footprint choice to feed the world and combat climate change.
As part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been given a prominent role to regulate and discipline global fisheries subsidies. The main goal is to eliminate IUU1 subsidies and prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing by 2020. In order to speed up the complex intergovernmental negotiations, a High Level Event on Trade, Climate Change and Oceans Economy took place in Geneva this week, where Europêche presented the huge progress made in Europe, to eliminate harmful subsidies and secure the sustainable and responsible management of fisheries resources.