20 years ago the World Trade Organisation launches a negotiation to agree global limits on state subsidisation of over fishing. The negotiation is reaching make or break point this week at a meeting in Geneva.

In 2019,

  • China gave €5.9 billion in subsidies towards over fishing,
  • Japan €2billion,
  • the EU countries €2billion,
  • South Korea €1..5billion and
  • the US €1 billion.

These subsidies make no environmental sense. They are ensuring that fish will not be available to future generations.

Much of the subsidisation of fossil fuels used in industrial fisheries, which is damaging to the climate , as well as to the fish.

A third of all fish stocks are now being over fished.

83% of fish stocks in the Mediterranean are being over fished.

All cod stocks off the EU’s  coasts are being over fished.

The sticking point in the negotiation is devising a system of exemptions from limits for less developed countries.

This is clearly an area where effective global rules are needed. As the world is breaking up into hostile blocs, these rules are hard to agree. If agreement is reached it will send a much needed optimistic signal to the world.