Explainer: What’s at Stake in WTO Talks on Fishing Rules?



Emma Farge | Reuters

The World Trade Organization hosts talks next week aimed at reaching a deal to cap subsidies that contribute to the overfishing of the world’s seas and oceans.

Prospects for a breakthrough appear dim. WTO delegates have been negotiating for 20 years and only last December agreed on the definition of “fish”. The WTO’s new director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said a deal is a top priority but she has also expressed doubts about a July conclusion.

The portion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels has plunged from 90% in 1990 to less than 66% in 2017, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation, with some regions like the Mediterranean significantly lower.

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