october, 2019

23oct5:30 pm6:30 pmOur Ocean 2019 Side EventEnding Harmful Fisheries Subsidies by 2020: Exploring the Impacts of Fisheries Subsidies and Potential Reform


Event Details

Side event: Ending Harmful Fisheries Subsidies by 2020: Exploring the Impacts of Fisheries Subsidies and Potential Reform

When: October 23, 2019 from 17h30 to 18h30
Where: Restaurant Chambre Séparée, Clarion Hotel The Hub
Co-hosts: High Level Panel on a Sustainable Ocean Economy, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, The Pew Charitable Trusts

To attend the event, register here: http://www.cvent.com/d/9hqjck or RSVP to Isabel Jarrett: ijarrett@pewtrusts.org


  • Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean & Co-chair, Friends of Ocean Action
  • Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy & Strategy) in the Executive Office of the President of Kenya
  • Jennifer Prescott, Assistant United States Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources
  • Dr. Rashid Sumaila, Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit, University of British Columbia
  • Alice Tipping, Lead, Fisheries Subsidies, International Institute for Sustainable Development
  • Isabel Jarrett, Manager, Ending Harmful Fisheries Subsidies, The Pew Charitable Trusts (moderator)

Session Format

The side event will explore the impact of harmful fisheries subsidies on the world’s ocean as well as the compelling new science that underlines the need for urgent reform through an ambitious and meaningful agreement at the World Trade Organization by 2020. The topic of the side event aligns with one of Our Ocean’s 2019 conference’s three themes – overfishing. The timing of Our Ocean 2019 makes it an important milestone in the final months of negotiations at the WTO, and represents a significant opportunity to increase awareness of, and support for an ambitious and meaningful agreement. To do so, it is vital to ensure active engagement from diverse stakeholders including from officials from environment and fisheries ministries and the NGO and scientific


Healthy oceans are essential for maintaining livelihoods and global food security and are critical to sustainable development. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics reveal that over 40 million people are engaged on a full-time or part-time basis in the marine capture fishery sector, and more than 1 billion people rely on seafood as a main source of animal protein. Yet, in 2018, the FAO estimated that a third of all fish stocks are being exploited at unsustainable levels and another 60% have no room for increased fishing. Fisheries subsidies are one of the key drivers of overcapacityand overfishing, and ultimately, the decline in global fish stocks. While not all fisheries subsidies are harmful, governments pay an estimated $20 billion per year in damaging types of fisheries subsidies to offset fishing costs such as fuel, gear, and vessel construction, undermining the health of fish stocks, ocean health, fishery management efforts, and the lives and livelihoods of fishers.

After more than two decades of stop-start negotiations to reform fisheries subsidies, by October 2019, governments will have just a few months to reach an agreement at the World Trade Organization and fulfil dual mandates to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies by 2020. The first is the Ministerial Decision resulting WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires (MC11), and the second is UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, one of three SDG 14 targets with 2020 deadlines. In the past, science to demonstrate the impact of fisheries subsidies on fisheries, and the potential impact of reform at the WTO has been missing from the discussion. Now, new research exists that can inform WTO deliberations and mobilize additional engagement in support of reform.

Session Objectives

  • Explore new science that assesses the impacts of fisheries subsidies and potential reform in different regional contexts as well as the global impacts of potential reform.
  • Connect scientists, government officials and other stakeholders to ensure decision-makers have access to the latest evidence of the benefits of subsidy reform.
  • Build awareness of and support for ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organization to reach an agreement to reform harmful fisheries subsidies by the end of 2019.



(Wednesday) 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Clarion Hotel, Oslo

Clarion Hotel, The Hub, Biskop Gunnerus’ gate 3