Talk:EU Common Fisheries Policy
Review by Job Dronkers (January 2013)
A profound reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is underway, in order to repare the inadequacies of the present fisheries policy: Vessels are catching more fish than can be safely reproduced, thus exhausting individual fish stocks and threatening the marine ecosystem. Today, three out of four stocks are overfished: 82% of Mediterranean stocks and 63% of Atlantic stocks. The fishing industry is experiencing smaller catches and facing an uncertain future.
Major new provisions of the new CFP are:
- The multi-annual ecosystem-based management. EU fisheries will be managed by multi-annual plans and governed by the ecosystem approach and the precautionary principle to ensure that the impacts of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem are limited.
- Banning discards. Fishermen will be obliged to land all the commercial species that they catch. Under-sized fish cannot be sold for human consumption.
- Making fishing profitable. A system of transferable catch shares, known as 'concessions', will be introduced as from 2014 for vessels over 12 metres long and all vessels using towed gear.
- Support for small-scale fisheries. Small-scale fisheries may also be exempted from the transferable fishing concessions scheme. The future financial instrument for fisheries will include measures beneficial to small-scale fisheries and will help local economies adapt to the changes.
- Developing sustainable aquaculture. By 2014, Member States will draft national strategic plans to remove administrative barriers and uphold environmental, social and economic standards for the farmed-fish industry.
- Improving scientific knowledge. The CFP establishes the basic rules and obligations for Member States on data collection, management, data availability and access provisions for the Commission.
- Decentralised governance. EU legislators will only define the general framework, the basic principles, the overall targets, the performance indicators and the timeframes. Member States will decide the actual implementing measures, and will cooperate at regional level.
- New market policy - empowerment of the sector and better informed consumers. A simplified storage mechanism will allow producer organisations to buy up fisheries products when prices fall under a certain level, and store the products for placing on the market at a later stage. New marketing standards on labelling, quality and traceability will give consumers clearer information and help them support sustainable fisheries.
- Taking international responsibility. Sustainable Fisheries Agreements (SFAs) will replace the existing Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs) and they will ensure that the exploitation of fishery resources takes place on the basis of sound scientific advice only targeting surplus resources that the partner country cannot or does not want to fish itself. Under SFAs, partner countries shall be compensated for granting access to their fishing resources and financial assistance shall be provided to the partner countries for the implementation of a sustainable fisheries policy.
For more details, see the EU Fisheries website.