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NPSSFW Advocates for Small-Scale Fishers' Rights Amid WTO Negotiations

NPSSFW vehemently defends subsidies provided to SSF, emphasising their crucial role in ensuring sustainable fishing practices and large-scale employment among others

New Delhi: The National Platform for Small-Scale Fish Workers (NPSSFW) has issued a compelling statement highlighting the concerns of small-scale fishers worldwide regarding the ongoing 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Abu Dhabi.

The press release underscores NPSSFW's staunch advocacy for the protection and promotion of socially and environmentally sustainable small-scale fisheries (SSF). It strongly criticises the non-participatory nature of WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies, emphasising the absence of space for the most significant stakeholders in fisheries—the small-scale fish workers.

NPSSFW vehemently defends subsidies provided to SSF, emphasising their crucial role in ensuring sustainable fishing practices, large-scale employment, income distribution equity, food security, and addressing climate crisis challenges. The organisation stresses that these subsidies are non-negotiable and calls for their continuation.

Furthermore, NPSSFW argues that subsidies for SSF in developing or least developed countries fall beyond the WTO's mandate as they pertain more to fisheries management than international trade. They insist on designating fisheries as small-scale or large-scale based on social characteristics rather than technical definitions.

The organisation rejects the notion of stopping subsidies to SSF based on over-capacity or over-fishing, advocating instead for the cessation of subsidies to large-scale and unsustainable fishing sectors. NPSSFW also emphasises the importance of considering the social and ecological sustainability of subsidies provided by a country, particularly to the SSF sector.

NPSSFW supports the rights of developing nations in claiming their share of deep-sea fishing and sustainable harvesting of fish resources. They propose that nations responsible for depleting global fisheries should bear reparations under the principles of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).

In light of the nature of the current WTO negotiations, perceived as favouring large-scale fisheries, NPSSFW calls upon small-scale fish workers and their organisations worldwide to unite and advocate for the protection of small-scale fisheries' interests.

Pradip Chatterjee, National Convener of NPSSFW, urges governments, including the Government of India, to cease subsidies to large-scale mechanised fishing sectors responsible for overfishing and destructive practices.

As negotiations continue at MC13, NPSSFW's stance amplifies the voices of small-scale fishers globally, echoing their plea to "Save Water, Save Fish, Save Fisher People."

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