20 Jul 2005

Three Melanesian countries seek retention of fishing subsidies

10:16 am on 20 July 2005

Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea have asked the World Trade Organisation to be treated different on the potential ban of fisheries subsidies.

The elimination of fisheries subsidies was highlighted during the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Doha in 1991.

Permanent representative of the Pacific Forum Island Countries to the WTO, Robert Sisilo, said a number of countries believed subsidies are partly responsible for the alarming depletion of fish stocks and should be banned.

But last week, the three Melanesian countries asked the other 145 member states of the WTO to treat them differently under rules to ban fisheries subsidies.

The three countries argued that their coastal states have a substantial surplus fish stock in their Exclusive Economic Zones and a lot of government revenue is generated from fees paid by fishing subsidies.