Producer organisations (POs) are designed to enable producers (whether they catch and/or farm fish) to cooperate to manage their resources in a way that makes economic, as well as ecological, sense. They do this by drawing up an annual operational programme, binding on all their members.
The programme sets out how catches/production will be spread over the fishing season so as to avoid gluts and scarcity, and includes a marketing strategy. POs are expected to anticipate difficulties, not just react to them, and have the power to impose penalties on members who do not respect their production plan. Only producers who belong to a PO have access to the EU's price support scheme.
More recently some POs have taken greater responsibility for fisheries management, for instance by managing the quota uptake of their members to ensure that it is within the total quota available to them.