Hopes rise global trade deal can avert fish crisis

Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:11pm EDT
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By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA (Reuters) - Negotiations on fisheries rules within a global trade deal have reached broad agreement that certain subsidies promoting overfishing should be banned, the chairman of the talks said on Thursday.

And progress in the talks, part of the long-running Doha round, suggest the World Trade Organisation (WTO) could play a key role in averting an environmental crisis, Uruguay's WTO ambassador Guillermo Valles Galmes told Reuters.

Environmental advocacy groups say the impact of overfishing on food stocks and biodiversity is an ecological threat comparable to climate change.

"There is a positive approach from civil society and the members of the WTO recognizing that they could make a good case to show that the WTO, through trade, can help achieve broader environmental goals," Valles said.

"In general terms, there is acceptance that we should have prohibitions of certain forms of subsidies that contribute to overfishing."

Valles said WTO