The Beacon

Canada: Stop Overfishing Subsidies!

I had the pleasure of joining Ted Danson, award-winning actor, longtime ocean advocate and Oceana board member, yesterday as he urged Canada’s business leaders to protect the world’s oceans. Canada's business leaders must insist that their government take a more active role in the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations to reduce fisheries subsidies. In a speech before The Economic Club of Toronto, Danson described why it is critical for Canada to become a global leader in the fight to stop overfishing, which has been accelerated by government subsidies.

“The world’s oceans need Canada,” said Danson. “Canada should extend its leadership on international trade to help produce a strong WTO agreement that significantly reduces overfishing subsidies.”

The WTO is currently engaged in a dedicated negotiation on fisheries subsidies as part of its Doha trade round. Danson appealed to the business community that reducing subsidies is the biggest solution to the problems of overfishing and other destructive fishing practices. Subsidies allow commercial fleets to fish longer, harder and farther away than would otherwise be possible. Danson cited the example of the highly subsidized global fishing fleets of Spain, which Canada has had conflicts with in the Atlantic.

“Subsidies disadvantage fishermen in countries like Canada that spend their money on more beneficial activities like fisheries management and social and community programs,” continued Danson.

Danson also acknowledged Canada’s leading scientific community, pointing to several scientists who have led the way in researching the state of the world’s oceans, including Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia, Boris Worm of Dalhousie University and the late Ransom Myers.

“You have the best science, your fisheries are important to you economically and you are respected in the world trade community,” said Danson. “Canada needs to step up to the plate.”

“The Economic Club of Toronto is especially proud to welcome Ted Danson to address Canada's most influential business audience," said Mark Adler, president of The Economic Club of Toronto. "Two weeks ago, President Bill Clinton told the Economic Club of Toronto how much of an impact Mr. Danson is making upon the environment and specifically oceans.”

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