Countries pushing to reach WTO fishing deal next month, documents show

A logo is seen at the WTO in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) - Dozens of countries have voiced their support for concluding in the next few weeks World Trade Organization negotiations on cutting harmful fishing subsidies that contribute to overfishing, two documents showed on Friday.

Countries failed at a WTO meeting in February to agree to the second part of an international WTO agreement to curb billions of dollars in government subsidies that critics say encourage industrial fishing fleets to empty the world's oceans.

A first part was agreed in 2022 and will take effect if and when enough countries ratify it. However, arguably it left unresolved some of the thorniest issues on subsidies - like curbing those that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

WTO documents showed that a broad coalition of more than 40 countries, including top subsidiser China, the United States as well as island fishing nations like Mauritius and Vanuatu are seeking to complete the talks by a July 22-23 WTO meeting in Geneva.

"We encourage all Members to engage constructively in order to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion without delay," one of the documents said.

The chair of the negotiations, Iceland's Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, plans to consult with WTO members in the coming days about the new time-frame with a view to publishing a revised draft deal by July 11, a Geneva-based trade source said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Frances Kerry)