PNG joins countries in fisheries agreement


Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato says  PNG is among nine countries in an international agreement with World Trade Organisation (WTO) to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies.
Pato, who attended the Pacific Day seminar in Washington DC, the US last week, urged the US to take the lead along with PNG and other nations to lobby to WTO to agree to eliminate harmful subsidies.
“The initiative will result in significant trade, economic development and environmental benefits, and help put PNG and Pacific states on track toward achieving target 14.6 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Pato said in a statement.
These goals call for the prohibition of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing and over-capacity by 2020.
According to Pato, this would be a huge benefit to those affected counties whose livelihoods are linked to the ocean such as small Pacific Island states, including PNG.
The other countries in the agreement are Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Switzerland, the US and Uruguay.
Last Friday the USs declared that as one of its measures towards ocean protection and conservation, it supported the call to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies through an agreement to be negotiated with WTO.
Fisheries subsides estimated at US$40 billion (about K124 billion) annually, creates significant fishery market distortions and is a major factor contributing to overfishing, overcapacity and depletion of fishery resources.
“Conserving and sustainability managing our fisheries is an urgent challenge facing the international community including PNG,” Pato said.

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