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Fisheries

INSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable Fish

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The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

Management of EU fisheries
Fishermen in Ireland. © Lionel Flageul

What is the Common Fisheries Policy?

The CFP is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Designed to manage a common resource, it gives all European fishing fleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and allows fishermen to compete fairly.

Stocks may be renewable, but they are finite. Some of these fishing stocks, however, are being overfished. As a result, EU countries have taken action to ensure the European fishing industry is sustainable and does not threaten the fish population size and productivity over the long term.

The CFP was first introduced in the 1970s and went through successive updates, the most recent of which took effect on 1 January 2014.

What are the aims of the Common Fisheries Policy?

The CFP aims to ensure that fishing and aquaculture are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and that they provide a source of healthy food for EU citizens. Its goal is to foster a dynamic fishing industry and ensure a fair standard of living for fishing communities.

Although it is important to maximise catches, there must be limits. We need to make sure that fishing practices do not harm the ability of fish populations to reproduce. The current policy stipulates that between 2015 and 2020 catch limits should be set that are sustainable and maintain fish stocks in the long term.

To this day, the impact of fishing on the fragile marine environment is not fully understood. For this reason, the CFP adopts a cautious approach which recognises the impact of human activity on all components of the ecosystem. It seeks to make fishing fleets more selective in what they catch, and to phase out the practice of discarding unwanted fish.

The reform also changes the way in which the CFP is managed, giving EU countries greater control at  national and regional level.

The CFP has 4 main policy areas:

The CFP also includes rules on aquaculture and stakeholder involvement

Official documents

REGULATION (EU) No 1380/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC