The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called on member countries of the Organisation to fast-track the ratification of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies to check overfishing in the oceans.
Speaking to about twenty-three journalists selected from developing countries in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala bemoaned the ramifications of overfishing on global sustainability and urged the journalists to help trigger their respective governments to join the 43 countries that had already ratified the Agreement to save the global fish stock in years to come.
“It is good to negotiate an agreement but getting it to enter into force is even better and for the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement where we are saying that our oceans are fifty percent over-fished, there is an urgency for us to ratify the Agreement and we cannot waste time in the ratification because the longer we wait, the more over-fishing there is,” she said.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala further called on the media to rally behind her to complement her efforts to have the Agreement ratified.
“So far, we have 43 members who have ratified and we need about 110 and you can help us by writing about the need for your country to ratify this Agreement,” she said.
“I have been going around trying to get this ratification because you younger people, this is your world and by then I would be in my grave and I would be bones but you the younger ones who are here, this is your ocean which is being depleted, this is your sustainability that is being damaged so you need to take responsibility.”
The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is a landmark agreement that aims to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Ratifying the Agreement will help to ensure that the world’s fish stocks are managed in a sustainable way, which is essential for food security and the livelihoods of millions of people around the world.