Global fisheries subsidies have been estimated to be as high as US$35 billion worldwide (UNCTAD, 2014), of which US$20 billion has been categorized as capacity-enhancing subsidies that contribute to overcapacity of fishing fleets and overfishing (Sumaila et al., 2013) - see figure 14.3. With a view to removing such subsidies, WTO members through the Doha Round of trade negotiations have been negotiating improved trade rules on fisheries subsidies, including through a prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. These negotiations remain, for the moment, stalled.
The Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) has selected as the indicator for target 14.6 the
dollar value of negative fishery subsidies against 2015 baseline. At the time of writing, the 2015 baseline data are not available. Furthermore, while data are notified by WTO members as a requirement of negotiations, most data on subsidies are estimations based on academic research.
For example, the estimates identified by Sumaila et al. (2013) and the World Bank are based on private data gathered primarily by the University of British Colombia in Canada. Thus, to date, there are few official data on subsidies available.
These data will be required to allow WTO members to agree an outcome to fisheries subsidy negotiations, and as a means of implementing Goal 14, and specifically target 14.6. Improved data will also be required to inform policies designed to ensure that small-scale and artisanal fisheries are provided with special and differential treatment.