Geneva [Switzerland], June 14 (ANI): Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday that the outcomes of the fisheries subsidies negotiations at WTO should provide a level-playing field to the developing nations to ensure that their small-scale and artisanal fishing fleets are sustained, and the livelihoods of their resource-poor fisher people are not threatened while food security issues are adequately addressed.
In his intervention on fisheries subsidies negotiations during the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO here, Goyal said there is need to join hands to ensure that the outcomes of the fisheries subsidies negotiations provide the right support, balance, equity and thrust to the artisanal and small-scale fishers, who are also the backbone of global fisheries.
Addressing a press conference later, Goyal said India is one of the disciplined nations in sustainably harnessing the fisheries resources.
“We’re one of the disciplined nations in sustainably harnessing the fisheries resources. Responsible and sustainable fishing is ingrained in the ethos of our fishers…Given the sensitivity with which Indian fishermen work, the restrictions should be placed on industrial fishing who work with big fleets and do deep-sea fishing. Not only restrictions but there should also be a ban on big vessels to replenish the stocks of fish worldwide,” he added.
He said some countries are very concerned about their own fishermen but are trying to restrict Indian fishermen.
He also referred to government schemes for the welfare of fishermen including Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
Answering a query on hindrances to consensus at WTO, he said there is always give and take.
“I dont think we can single out any nation. This is always a give and takes and dialogue process. And we will be talking to different nations. I have had bilaterals with US, UK, EU, South Africa, and Ireland. Today, I have had a bilateral with Rwanda, which is a developing nation. I have bilateral with our neighbour Nepal which is very concerned about food security. We have been working with various nations.”He said developing countries and the less developed countries look up to India, and its leadership for being the voice of the poor and vulnerable.
“Because of the strong leadership that PM Modi brings to the room when there is any international engagement and his own stature as a tall world leader, clearly, the developing countries and the less developing countries look up to India, and its leadership for being the voice of the poor and vulnerable. And, therefore, we are vocal. Many countries, particularly the developing countries, appreciate the role India is playing.”In his speech, the minister said India would strongly urge that Distant Water Fishing Nations should be subject to a moratorium on giving any kind of subsidies for 25 years for fishing or fishing-related activities beyond their EEZ.
“It is essential, that they transfer these capacities to the developing countries and LDCs to give them a chance to grow,” he said.
“We are strongly of the view that the outcome of this exercise should provide a level-playing field to the developing nations to ensure that their small-scale and artisanal fishing fleets are sustained, and the livelihoods of their resource-poor fisher people are not threatened, food security issues are adequately addressed, and there is policy space for all maritime zones including the high seas, which should be provided to meet the growth aspirations of the traditional fishermen communities,” he added.
Goyal emphasized providing time and space to enhance the capacities of the developing nations in resource management, fleet optimization, wherever required, and taking the onerous task of meeting the requirements of the final outcomes of the fisheries subsidies to the last mile.
He said United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture.
“Let us all join hands to ensure that the outcomes of the fisheries subsidies negotiations provide the right support, balance, equity and thrust to the artisanal and small-scale fishers, who are also the backbone of global fisheries. By doing so, we would not only be honouring the decision of the UNGA but also paying a glorious tribute to the millions of fisher folk all over the world,” the minister said. (ANI)