Trading Away Our Oceans

Publication - January 18, 2007
Instead of pursuing further liberalization, states should ensure existing international law is implemented fully and establish new rules to ensure sustainable and equitable management of the high seas. Furthermore, developing countries must be provided with the capacity and know-how to establish and enforce effective fisheries management regimes in their own waters.

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Executive summary: This paper shows the real and negative conservation and development impacts of trade liberalization in fish and fishery products, which were included in the catch-all scope of the Doha Round’s Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations. It shows how further liberalization will speed up the pace of over-fishing, further increase unsustainable aquaculture production, and have generally devastating consequences for fish, the wider marine environment, developing countries and the one billion poor people worldwide who depend on fish as their primary source of protein. The evidence for this from case studies and projections carried out by different organizations is overwhelming.

The combination of tariff reductions and weak fish management and enforcement regimes will inevitably lead to over-fishing and the exhaustion and collapse of many of the world’s wild fish stocks. In the marine environment, trade liberalization will hasten the already significant losses of biological and genetic diversity caused by more than five decades of large-scale industrial over-fishing; while on dry land it will exacerbate poverty and insecurity for the millions of poor people who depend on the wild fishery for their food and livelihoods.

Num. pages: 75