International trade in fish and fish products is booming. Production is increasing on the back of growing demand across the world. Preservation and transport of produce is becoming cheaper. Lower tariffs have helped, as has the coming in of 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones.

More than half the value of exports is from developing countries of Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDC). ICSF monitors this trade from the perspective of small-scale fishers, analysing international and regional trade regimes, disseminating information about relevant developments to fishworker bodies, civil society and policymakers.

ICSF explains ecolabelling and other forms of certification and their implications for small-scale fishing communities and food security. The aim is enhanced capacity of fisher organizations to deal with trade on an even keel.

ICSF follows negotiations related to fisheries subsidies and other fisheries-related debates at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and follows regional trade agreements, to inform small-scale fishers about their implications for their access to resources and markets.

Current Programmes

ICSF continues to monitor and analyze information on developments in international trade and regional trade regimes and to disseminate information about such developments to fishworker organizations, CSOs and policy makers.


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Fisheries subsidies rules at the WTO: A compilation of evidence and analysis edited By ICTSD

The papers in this compilation aim to bring international legal and technical expertise to bear on some of these challenges. They build on many years of work by ICTSD on...

FAO Instruments supporting the sustainability of traded fish and fisheries products By Marcio Castro de Souza, FAO, 2018

The importance of sustainable fisheries in international trade and how the existing FAO fish framework could contribute to support a trading system that is sustainable, transparent, predictable and governed by...

How international multi-stakeholder initiatives contribute to sustainable trade of fish and fish products: the case of FiTI By Andréa Durighello, FiTI, 2018

The FAO organized a Working Session on “FAO Instruments supporting the Sustainability of Traded Fish and Fisheries Products”. The importance of sustainable fisheries and how the existing FAO fish framework could...

The importance of sustainable trade in small-scale fisheries By Ratana Chuenpagdee, TBTI, 2018

Working Session on “FAO Instruments Supporting Sustainability of Traded Fish and Fisheries Products” WTO Public Forum, October 3, 2018, Geneva

Report of the sixteenth session of the sub-committee on fish trade of the Committee on Fisheries Busan, Republic of Korea, 4 – 8 September 2017 By FAO, 2017

The Committee on Fisheries established the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade to serve as a multilateral framework for consultations on international trade in fishery products. The Sub-Committee took note of recent...

Trade policy options for sustainable oceans and fisheries By U. Rashid Sumaila, 2016

With 37% of fish harvest exported as food for human consumption or in non-edible forms, trade policies and measures constitute an essential part of the overall policy framework needed to...

Trade Policy Review Body – Trade policy review – Report by the Secretariat – India – Revision dated 14/09/2015 By WTO, 2015

During the period under review, India continued its efforts to liberalize and facilitate trade, such as through the introduction of self-assessment in customs procedures and the elimination of state-trading requirements...

Fishing for the future: Trends and issues in global fisheries trade By Alice Tipping, Christophe Bellmann, U. Rashid Sumaila, 2014

This paper provides an overview of the intersection between oceans and fisheries issues, and trade policy. It surveys the current state and major trends in global fisheries and trade in...

Guidelines for the ecolabelling of fish and fishery products from inland capture fisheries By FAO, 2011

The Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Inland Capture Fisheries are of a voluntary nature. They are applicable to ecolabelling schemes that are designed to certify...

Responsible fish trade. FAO technical guidelines for responsible fisheries. No. 11 By FAO, 2009

The main purpose of these Technical Guidelines is to provide general advice in support of implementation of Articles 11.2 “Responsible international trade” and 11.3 “Laws and regulations relating to fish...