Seychelles is 1st African country to accept WTO fishing subsidies agreement

Brutus said that this will ensure the sustainability of fish stocks, and also protect the livelihood of those that depend on the marine resources. (Gerard Larose)

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(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles is the first African country to accept the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies as it deposited its instrument of acceptance to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on March 10. The deposition of the instrument also makes Seychelles the third WTO member country to do so.

The agreement prohibits certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, as well as eliminates subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In a joint statement from the island nation’s Ministries of Fisheries and Finance, it was outlined that through this significant step, “we are hopeful that our country’s vision within the fisheries sector to develop fisheries to its full potential whilst safeguarding the marine environment and resource base for sustainability can be further realised to ensure the long-term viability of Seychelles’ fishing-industry in a participative and co-management approach to preserve its unique biodiversity.”

“Seychelles thus calls on its neighbors within the African region, as well as its other WTO counterparts, to submit their Instruments of Acceptance in a bid to continue the global efforts in the conservation of the long-term health of oceans for future generations,” the joint statement continued.

Following the deposition of the instrument, Seychelles’ trade attaché, Veronique Brutus, said that “we are also delighted to be the first African country to ratify the agreement and also to be the second SIDS [ small island developing state] alongside Singapore, and also to be the third WTO country to ratify the agreement.”

Brutus added that “Seychelles is a small island state, and our economy depends a lot on fisheries and this agreement will help to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to deal with harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing, ensure the sustainability of fish stocks, and also protect the livelihood of those that depend on the marine resources.”

On her side, WTO’s director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that “I am delighted and proud to welcome Seychelles’ ratification of the WTO’s Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.”

“Healthier seas and oceans are vital for the prosperity and resilience of Seychelles’ fisheries and tourism industries. Seychelles’ formal acceptance also signals the importance of the Agreement to Africa. I am hopeful this will pave the way for others in the region to follow suit,” said Okonjo-Iweala. 

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