Geneva, Jun 8 (EFE).- The World Trade Organization unveiled Wednesday a large ice sculpture of a tuna swimming in the ocean to mark World Oceans Day and raise awareness on harmful fishing practices.
Under the slogan ‘Stop the Fish Meltdown,’ the two-meter tall ice sculpture, commissioned by a group of NGOs, was placed in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to draw attention to the urgency of the situation.
The WTO Ministerial Conference, which will bring together trade ministers and officials from 164 countries in Geneva next week, is set to reach a global agreement on ending harmful fisheries subsidies.
“I am cautiously optimistic, but there are still tricky issues,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
A global agreement to end harmful fisheries subsidies could be the ocean’s lifeline. Fish stocks and other marine species have been under enormous pressure for decades, with many species already gone or in danger of extinction.
The WTO started negotiations to ban harmful fishing over two decades ago after researchers estimated that 20% of fish stocks were being overfished. Today, the figure has reached 50%.
“Let’s try and get Fisheries Subsidies done! 21 years is too long,” Okonjo-Iweala tweeted.
China subsidizes the world’s largest fishing fleet that ravages other countries’ marine resources while Russia, Japan and South Korea are also listed as states that subsidize fishing activities that are borderline illegal or predatory. EFE