Barbados Little Fish In Big Pond Say Sustainability Experts.

Photo: Pixabay. Grilled fish in a dish, but are they subsidized?
- Advertisement -

Senior trade and fisheries officials from the Caribbean and representatives from partner organisations are in Barbados to participate in a technical workshop on the importance of ratifying and implementing the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is the first WTO agreement that focuses on environmental sustainability.

It bans ‘harmful’ fishing subsidies and establishes a set of binding prohibitions and rules that seek to ensure that the support provided by governments to their fishing sector does not undermine the sustainability of marine resources.

Fisheries subsidies come in many shapes and forms.

fisheries subsidy is a government action that confers an advantage on consumers or extractors of fish in order to supplement their income or lower their cost.

Fisheries subsidies include direct transfers of funds, income or price support measures, tax credits, exemptions and rebates, low-interest loans and guarantees, preferential treatment and use of regulatory support mechanisms.

Not all estimates include government funding for fisheries management, such data collection and control and enforcement, or the possible absence of access fees.

The two-day workshop, which started on Monday, is being co-hosted by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat, CARICOM Secretariat and the WTO. It is being held under the theme Ratification and Implementation of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement in the Caribbean.

This workshop is a follow-up to the first technical workshop on Fisheries Subsidies for the Caribbean, which was held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, last January.  It seeks to provide a platform for knowledge exchange to better equip CARICOM and CRFM Member States with the resources and tools to understand, accept, ratify, and implement the WTO Agreement; as well as to strengthen the capacity of national fisheries and trade officials to implement the Agreement.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Senior Minister Coordinating the Productive Sector, Kerrie Symmonds, noted that Barbados was one of five CRFM Member States that has ratified the WTO Agreement and explained why this was done.

“We are an island of only 166 square miles.  In our particular case, our maritime waters are estimated to represent four to five times the total land area of Barbados. In a real sense, therefore, we are not just a small island developing state, but we are a large ocean state and, as such, we have to take every action available to us in order to preserve, protect, and ensure the sustainability of the ocean around us,” Minister Symmonds said.

He pointed out that within the Caribbean, the fishing sector faced two main challenges – sustainable development and management of fisheries and aquatic resources. He also explained how the Government of Barbados plans to address these challenges in the upcoming financial year 2024/2025.

“The Government has more than doubled the allocation for activities focusing on fisheries management, and the development of fishery services and market developments over the sum that was allocated in the last financial year. In addition to that, the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, the Green and Blue Economy will advance marine conservation efforts, including marine infrastructure work, marine spatial planning, and coastal protection.

“We also anticipate the rollout of the fisheries management plan, which also includes a focus on food security issues, of aquaculture and mariculture, as well as sustainable management for the benefit of all stakeholders in the sector.  In short, as a country, we are committing ourselves to the right policy mix to achieve our fisheries management goals and we pledge to continue to work collectively with all stakeholders to implement these policies and actions,” the Minister stated.

He urged participants in the technical workshop to make the most of the engagement by speaking up and seeking clarification about matters that affect their country, especially concerning the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing text, and the text on over-fishing and over-capacity which is being developed.

Also speaking during the opening session of the workshop were the WTO Secretariat’s Director, Rules Division, Clarisse Morgan; CDB’s Vice-President, Operations (Ag.), Therese Turner-Jones; CRFM Secretariat’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton; and Assistant Secretary-General, CARICOM Single Market and Trade, Ambassador Wayne McCook.

They shared the consensus that the fishing sector and the region’s marine resources and ecosystems are vital sources of food, livelihood, trade, and cultural identity, and help to promote economic and developmental growth.

Source: Barbados GIS.
- Advertisement -