a1 Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne Law School
Subsidies to the fishing sector have trade and ecological consequences, especially for fisheries that are over-exploited. In response, WTO members are negotiating to clarify and improve the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Yet significant legal challenges constrain this ongoing effort because fisheries conservation and management matters are often addressed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, instruments of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and other legal regimes to which some WTO members have not consented. This article analyses modes of learning and information exchange within the WTO regime, and compares the proposed use of standards, benchmarks, and peer review in the draft fisheries subsidies rules with existing arrangements between the WTO and organizations such as the OECD and product standard-setting bodies. It argues that novel deliberative strategies of regime interaction are more important in resolving the challenges posed by international law's fragmentation than adherence to strict mandates or legal hierarchies.
Much of the research presented here was undertaken during a fellowship at Pembroke College and the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge. I am grateful to James Crawford, Ellen Hey, Gary Horlick, Petros Mavroidis, Joanne Scott, Katharine Young and the editor and two anonymous referees for helpful comments, as well as participants at the inaugural conference of the Society for International Economic Law, Geneva, and at the WTO Scholars' Forum at University College London. Thanks are also due to officials and delegates at the WTO and FAO. This article forms part of a wider research project which will be Trading Fish, Saving Fish: The Interaction between Regimes in International Law (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2010).