om: India calls for WTO restrictions on fishing in distant waters
New Delhi has submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO), stating that developing countries that do not fish high seas should be exempt from overfishing subsidy bans for 25 years, and that only those that have overexploited the environment should bear the cost of managing the problem.
“India has said that developing countries that do not fish high seas should be exempt from overfishing subsidy bans for 25 years,” said a Geneva-based official.
India has presented its proposal during ongoing negotiations to finalize disciplines to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and to ban certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity. and overfishing, ahead of a key WTO ministerial conference later this year.
However, New Delhi retained the exception in the President’s text for artisanal and low-income fishermen, but said it should be without the time limit and geographic limit contained in the President’s text.
“India’s proposal supports the ‘polluter pays’ approach, targeting countries with high seas fishing in the bulk of overfishing-related subsidy bans,” the official said.
Under the proposal, overfishing would be self-determined by a member or by a regional fisheries management organization for waters under their respective jurisdictions. This contrasts with the hybrid approach of the President’s text which presumed that certain types of subsidies contribute to overfishing, such as subsidies for shipbuilding, fuel, income support, if no measures are in place to maintain stocks at healthy levels.