|Abstract or Summary
- Subsidies are most often discussed within global fora (such as the World Trade Organization) in terms of concerns over trade distortions, if some countries gain an unfair advantage, through their subsidies, over unsubsidized industry elsewhere. In fisheries, this concern is matched by an environmental argument – that fish stock depletion has been driven in part by high levels of fishing subsidies. While these two aspects have garnered most attention, subsidies are also recognized to have impacts on human development. This recognition partially explains the broader move to treat subsidies differently between developing and developed countries, acknowledging their differing histories and needs. In addition, within the fishery sector specifically, there is an understanding of two key realities: (1) that the negative aspects of subsidies are largely found in industrial rather than small-scale fisheries, and (2) that certain subsidies may provide support for the role of small-scale fisheries in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals, and implementing the new Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries. Accordingly, fishery subsidies, particularly in small-scale fisheries, might be best evaluated using three criteria: trade distortions, environmental impacts, and the extent of contributing to or impeding progress toward human development. A win-win-win situation in small-scale fisheries will be one in which a subsidy is minimally trade distorting, and simultaneously supports human development needs and produces conservation benefits (or at least avoids negative environmental and over-fishing impacts). This presentation explores global policy directions in subsidy reforms that support small-scale fisheries, and their associated social, economic, and human rights.