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Policy Options Paper

Trade Policy Options for Sustainable Oceans and Fisheries

January 2016

With 37% of fish harvest exported as food for human consumption or in non-edible forms, trade policies and measures constitute an essential part of the overall policy framework needed to support sustainable environmental and human development priorities connected to oceans and fisheries. The ocean is a vital component of the earth’s system and contributor to the well-being of human society. Ensuring ocean sustainability has become a global challenge, as unsustainable practices threaten marine biodiversity, fish stocks, food security and livelihoods. The objective of the paper is to provide fresh thinking on the key challenges facing the world’s oceans and fisheries and identify policy options and reform opportunities for the global trade system to support a transition towards sustainable fisheries and healthier oceans. The policy options are structured under three work packages: closing the market for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; disciplining fisheries subsidies; and addressing tariff and non-tariff measures. In the IUU and subsidies work packages the aim is to ensure that trade does not undermine the environment. The main objective of the third package is to ensure that international markets function effectively and that they enable developing country producers to build sustainable fisheries and move up the value chain. While there is a preference for multilateral approaches, the paper proposes options that may compromise on multilateralism in the short term in order to facilitate the building of broader solutions in the system in the longer term. The three work packages nevertheless provide an innovative and inclusive agenda for domestic reform and international cooperation geared toward securing sustainable oceans and fisheries worldwide.

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Policy Option Paper

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