Accessibility links

Breaking News

EU Bans Subsidized Fishing

FILE - A fisherman on a Boulogne sur Mer-based trawler prepares to raise fishing nets off the coast of northern France, Oct. 21, 2013. Fishermen will not get European Union subsidies to build new vessels, E.U. lawmakers agreed on October 23, 2013.

BRUSSELS - The E.U. approved a historic agreement banning harmful fisheries subsidies on Thursday, joining a small group of countries that include the United States.

"This is a very positive step for sustainable development and a very positive step forward by the E.U. I really hope that more WTO members will follow," Swedish Trade Minister Johan Forssell told reporters in Brussels.

"In the next World Trade Organization [WTO] ministerial (conference), we should be discussing the next steps on fisheries subsidies," the E.U.'s commissioner for trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said after a meeting of E.U. trade ministers..

The agreement bans subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, with a two-year exemption for developing countries within their exclusive economic zones, or 200 nautical miles.

It also prohibits subsidies linked to overfished stocks, with a two-year reprieve for poorer nations.

The deal comes into force once two-thirds of WTO's 164 members formally approve it.

Canada and the United Arab Emirates accepted the WTO agreement earlier this month, following the United States in April.

Iceland, the Seychelles, Singapore and Switzerland have also formally accepted the WTO deal.