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Minister Crean calls for ambition in Doha negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

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Minister Crean calls for ambition in Doha negotiations on fisheries subsidies

8 June 2010

Trade Minister Crean today on the occasion of World Oceans Day called on WTO Members to push ahead

in the Doha negotiations on fisheries subsidies to promote the health and sustainability of the world’s


“Australia is seeking the broadest possible prohibition to the harmful subsidies that lead to over-fishing and

the build-up of excess capacity to fish. Along with the damage they cause to fish stocks, these subsidies

are also trade and production distorting,” Mr Crean said.

Fisheries subsidies put at risk livelihoods and development in poorer countries that depend on sustainable

fishing. Fisheries contribute to food security and are essential to the hundreds of millions of people who

depend on them for food and livelihood.

“I recognise the livelihood concerns of developing countries and am committed to finding a way to address

these concerns without destroying the sustainability of the world’s fish stocks.”

The sustainability of the world’s fisheries is at crisis point. The latest figures from the UN Food and

Agriculture Organisation indicate that 80 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are fully or overexploited with no

prospect of recovery.

The challenge now is to prevent the situation from worsening. Fish stocks will not recover without

concerted effort by the global community.

“An ambitious outcome in these negotiations will address the overcapacity and over-fishing which goes


Subsidies continue to be directed at building more and larger fishing boats, with the capacity to fish further

and longer, encouraging fishing effort and adversely affecting to fish stock levels. Many fishing activities

would not be viable without these subsidies.

“This is not an easy task. One practical and important step would be for governments to refrain from

introducing new subsidy programs while Members negotiate an ambitious outcome to the Doha


This is one area in the Doha negotiations where Members need to bolster efforts to reach agreement.

Members are developing rules for the first time in the WTO to address the impact of measures that have

both a distortion on trade and the sustainability of the world’s resources.”

“Such pioneer work calls for dedication and creativity. Australia is committed to contributing to this work.”

The United Nations Environment Program has estimated that globally, there are currently 35 million fishers

and more than 20 million boats actively engaged in fishing. Fisheries directly and indirectly support 170

million jobs worldwide.

Media inquiries

• Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420

• Departmental Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555