The Commonwealth Secretariat and UNCTAD will convene a three-day conference on trade policy and sustainable fisheries between 29 September and 1 October in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Trade in Sustainable Fisheries provides a platform for experts and government representatives to look at trade policy options that help to ensure growth and encourage sustainable fishing practices.
Exports of fish and related fish products reached a high of US$136 billion worth of global exports in 2013. About 97 per cent of the world’s fishermen live in developing countries and over 90 per cent are employed in small-scale fishing.
At the same time, researchers have raised serious concerns about the depletion of marine life through overfishing. A study by the WWF and the Zoological Society of London published in September concluded that commercial fish stocks have fallen by 50 per cent between 1970 and 2010, while some populations including tuna and mackerel have plunged by nearly 75 per cent.
This poses challenges for governments and the fishing industry, including Commonwealth countries who depend on fisheries for job creation, food and poverty reduction. More than 3.2 billion people worldwide live close to coastlines which rely on the seas for their livelihoods and about 350 million jobs are linked to fisheries, port management and related activities.
During the Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Trade in Sustainable Fisheries, experts and government representatives will discuss sustainable fishing practices and fisheries trade in the multilateral trading system, as well as efforts to conserve fisheries resources and marine ecosystems for current and future generations.
A final report and recommendations will be published following the meeting.