Fisheries subsidies have been the subject of the first global effort to use the laws and institutions of international trade to promote sustainable development in a key natural resource sector. The history of the issue – how it developed politically and technically – is an important chapter in the history of international environmental policy and of international economic relations generally. An account of that history may be of use to current WTO delegates – who often work in fouryear rotations – as well as to other stakeholders ready to contribute to this major effort of developing international rules on fisheries subsidies. It can also provide a valuable context for better understanding the technical questions covered in more detail in Chapter 5 of this book.