Nigeria has on Monday become the second African country to formally accept the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
The Agreement aims to prohibit support for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, ban support for fishing of overfished stocks, and end subsidies for fishing in the unregulated high seas.
The WTO announced this after Nigeria deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement through Ambassador Adamu Mohammed Abdulhamid to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WTO noted that Nigeria deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on June 12, making it the second African WTO member to do so. It stated that acceptance from two-thirds of WTO members are required for the Agreement to come into effect.
DG Okonjo-Iweala expressed gratitude to Nigeria for formally accepting the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. She added:
“I am proud to see the country’s continued commitment to sustainable development and its vote of confidence in the work of the WTO. Nigeria’s acceptance adds to our growing tally of members that have accepted the Agreement — we have received about one-third of the total needed for the Agreement to enter into force.
“I hope that Nigeria’s action serves as an inspiration to other governments in Africa and around the world to swiftly implement the Agreement and foster global cooperation for the benefit of our shared future.”
Nigeria’s Ambassador Abdulhamid emphasised that the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies presents a unique opportunity for Nigeria to promote the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and the improvement of livelihoods while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.
He added: “The Agreement shall put a stop to all harmful fisheries subsidies, such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities by all WTO members.
“By accepting this instrument, Nigeria reaffirms its commitment to a rule-based multilateral trading system by guaranteeing compliance with the Agreement and refraining from introducing any new subsidies that harm the marine environment. Nigeria also recognises the need for appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries, which can be achieved through adequate policy space to develop its fisheries sector and through technical assistance and capacity building to implement the discipline.”
Ambassador Abdulhamid urged other WTO members who have not ratified this agreement to do so as soon as possible to contribute to the global effort of preserving global fish stocks.
The WTO notes that Nigeria’s formal acceptance is an important step toward the Agreement’s entry into force, with approximately one-third of the required acceptances now in hand. Nigeria, being the fifth-largest African fishing nation, is estimated to lose about $70 million each year due to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The sector contributes as much as 5 percent to Nigeria’s GDP and supports the livelihood of approximately 24 million people.
The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies was initially adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva on June 12-17, 2022.
It prohibits support for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing of overfished stocks, and ends subsidies for fishing in the unregulated high seas.
The Agreement sets multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks. It also recognises the needs of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.
The WTO members agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with the aim of making recommendations by MC13, scheduled to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.Follow us on social media