BARBADOS-Barbados ratifies WTO fisheries subsidies agreement.

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Barbados has formally submitted its instrument of ratification accepting the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Fisheries Subsidies Agreement to the WTO Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

On Wednesday, the island’s Ambassador to the United Nations, the WTO, and other international organizations, Matthew Wilson, presented the ratification instrument in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Cabinet of Barbados endorsed the instrument after extensive national consultations with the fishing communities and other stakeholders to understand their needs and realities better.

“This Agreement confirms that the WTO can produce strong legal outcomes for the sustainability and developmental priorities of small island states like Barbados. It signals that illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing will not be tolerated,” Wilson stated.

The Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, which Barbados ratified, focuses on addressing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activity.

The ongoing second part of the negotiations seeks to discipline subsidies that cause overfishing and overcapacity, which have negatively impacted global fish stocks.

Wilson noted that Barbados, like many other small island developing states and small, vulnerable economies, had been intimately involved in the fisheries subsidies negotiations since they were launched formally in 2005.

“As an island state that depends on fisheries for food security, jobs, and livelihoods, Barbados recognised that its maritime space required both protection and sustainable management as it diversified its economy,” he stated.

He said one of the most significant contributions that Barbados and other small islands have made in the negotiations is to introduce language into the mandate on special and differential treatment that focuses on livelihoods, poverty alleviation, and food security.

The Ambassador added that this also reflects the importance of any negotiation on fisheries, which needs to be more than just trade rules but must ultimately be about protecting vulnerable communities.

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