First WTO deal on fishing subsidies hailed as historic despite ‘big holes’

Environment groups welcome long-awaited deal to curb harmful subsidies but say key measures to curb overfishing were dropped

After 20 years of failed negotiations, the World Trade Organization has secured a deal to curb harmful subsidies that contribute to overfishing. Conservationists and campaign groups welcomed last week’s agreement as historic, despite criticism of “big holes” in the agreement.

The deal was the firstconcluded in Geneva for all 164 member states of the WTO with “environmental sustainability” at its core, the organisation’s director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said in her closing speech.

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