A major new reform of China’s fishery subsidy system doesn’t apply to its distant-water fleet.

Leaders in the provinces of Fujian and Shandong – two key bases for the country’s distant-water fleet – recently announced they will scrap fuel subsidies in favor of payments linked to compliance with fishery laws and conservation goals.

Subsidies granted by the provinces to fishing firms will now be awarded based on fishing trawlers meeting a series of requirements that include port entry and exit reports and the use of location-monitoring equipment and reporting of fishing data. Fujian province has also included catch limits on juvenile fish as part of its requirements.

Many of the requirements are similar to those being recommended by international organizations as a means to curtail illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The changes were made as World Trade Organization (WTO) officials met for a preliminary round of negotiations on a deal to limit fishery subsidies, prior to the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference, commencing 12 June.