Nairobi, Kenya - Ambassador Michael Froman spoke today at an event in Nairobi that marks a watershed in the long-fought battle against harmful fisheries subsidies in the WTO, joining together with over 25 Members of the WTO to pledge their commitment to work to end these government hand-outs that distort trade and endanger our oceans. Today's joint statement builds on our efforts to advance this issue in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and expands on and continues that work among a committed group of WTO Members. You may view a copy of the MC10 Fisheris Subsidies Ministerial Statement here.
Read Ambassador Froman's remarks below.
Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman to the Friends of Fish Event
“Protecting our environment is both an economic and a moral necessity. There is a Kenyan proverb that says, ‘we have not inherited this land from our ancestors, rather, we borrowed it from our children’. And it’s for that reason that I am particularly glad to join this group to focus on fish subsidies, which is important, not just for protecting the environment, but for furthering food security and promoting sustainable economic growth.
“There is a certain urgency to this issue. Today, our fisheries are running out of time. By some estimates, 30% of the world’s fish stocks are being overfished and nearly 61% are being fully fished. And we have a duty, as members of the WTO, to do our part to address the root causes of this overfishing and over capacity, and that is fisheries subsidies that encourage fishing enterprises to fish harder, fish further than they otherwise would without the subsidies.
“That’s why the U.S. has been a tireless advocate for disciplining harmful fishing subsidies, from our work here at the WTO to next-generation trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we need to use every tool in our arsenal to try to deal with these issues, including our trade agreements.
“As I said, this is critical, not just for protecting the environment, but for encouraging sustainable trade and driving development. It is fundamental for restoring the health of our oceans, and feeding people all over the world, for removing trade distortions and improving local livelihoods, especially in artisanal fishing communities.
“For all these reasons, we are grateful to New Zealand for their leadership role, and we strongly support this ministerial statement. We look forward to working with all members to advance the WTO’s work in this area, and we stand by to engage in this process in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, at APEC, in conjunction with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to further this agenda, as we feel, very importantly, we feel we are on the verge of doing something very important for the environment and for sustainable growth and development all over the world. I look forward to working with all of you in that regard.