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The European Commission welcomes Morocco’s ratification of a Fisheries Protocol which is set to open the door for European vessels to go back fishing in Moroccan waters after a pause of more than two years. The European Union and Morocco had concluded the 4-year fisheries deal in December 2013, however its entry into force was pending ratification by Morocco.
The EU and Mozambique met in Maputo, Mozambique, on 9-11 July 2014, to launch negotiations on the renewal of the Protocol to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement due to expire on 31 January 2015. The negotiations were conducted in an open and frank atmosphere with progress made on identifying the areas where there was agreement and those where further work is required.

Rights-based management tools in fisheries

Public consultation

In 2007, the European Commission launched a public debate on rights-based management tools in fisheries. The debate is still ongoing even though the formal consultation is closed.

Background

Rights-based management includes any system of allocating individual fishing rights to fishermen, fishing vessels, enterprises, cooperatives or fishing communities. Such systems, which exist in all fisheries management regimes in one form or another, basically define the rights to use fisheries resources. Fishing rights have a value and can be traded. The trade in fishing rights was first addressed in the context of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2002, when the Commission committed itself to producing a report on the scope for provisions within EU and/or national fisheries management systems for a system of tradable fishing rights, which can be individual or collective.

Markets in fishing rights exist in most Member States. In some, national regimes specify that days at sea or part of the catch quota can be sold or leased. In others, those who wish to acquire more fishing rights have to buy a fishing vessel. The degree of transparency or openness of these transactions may vary greatly depending on how the system is formalised. Even when they are not specified by national law, in most Member States such markets exist de facto. The cost of acquiring these rights is at times substantial and can have a major effect on the development of the fisheries sector. The debate on rights-based management should explore ways to facilitate greater transparency, improve legal certainty and security, and ultimately achieve greater economic efficiency for fishermen, which will also mean minimising costs to the rest of society.

The debate also needs to address the potential negative effects of such systems - such as the risk that rights are concentrated in the hands of a few large companies to the detriment of small coastal fishing communities - and the way they could be addressed.

Consultation documents

Communication on rights-based management tools in fisheries

Staff working paper pdf - 326 KB [326 KB]

Press release (26/02/2007)  

Frequently asked questions