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A World Wildlife Fund protest against overfishing in Brussels. A protest against overfishing organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Brussels, Belgium, May 13, 2013 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

The WTO Could Help End the Overfishing Crisis. But Will It?

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019

Since 2001, member states of the World Trade Organization have held on-and-off negotiations on an agreement to end harmful subsidies to fisheries that are contributing to the depletion of fish stocks around the world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in 2015, only two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks were being harvested at sustainable levels, down from 90 percent in 1974. Although the WTO is close to an agreement, it won’t meet a year-end deadline proposed by the U.N. In an email interview with WPR, Daniel Skerritt, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, discusses how fisheries subsidies contribute to overfishing and why talks at the WTO have gone on for nearly two decades.

World Politics Review: How much of an impact are fisheries subsidies having on the depletion of fish stocks around the world? What countries are the worst offenders? ...

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