The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the EU's instrument for the management of fishing and aquaculture. Fish stocks are regarded as a common resource, to be managed collectively. This is because:

  • Fish are a natural, mobile and renewable resource
  • Fish cannot be owned until they have been caught
  • The actions of one group of fishermen impacts on other groups.

The CFP manages fisheries for the benefit of both fishing communities and consumers, and for the protection of resources.

Policies of the CFP

The CFP is active in four main areas:

  1. Conservation − Fish stocks need to be able to renew themselves as fish die due to natural causes, fishing, or other causes.
    To this end, the CFP regulates the amount of fish taken from the sea.
    This is done by setting:
    • The total allowable catch (TAC) − the maximum quantities of fish that may be caught every year.
    • A national quota for each country
      ◦ Ensures that young fish are able to reproduce
      ◦ Ensures that its measures are respected
  2. Structures − The CFP helps the fishing and aquaculture industries adapt to the constraints imposed by scarce resources and the market by developing their organisations and equipment.
  3. Markets −The CFP organises the market in fish products and matches supply and demand for the benefit of both producers and consumers.
  4. Relations with the outside world − The CFP negotiates agreements with non-EU countries concerning conservation measures in deep-sea fishing.

History of the CFP

1970 − Rules were set concerning access to EC fishing grounds, markets and structures

1976 − Member States followed an international movement which extended rights over marine resources from 12 to 200 miles from a nation's coasts

1983 − The common fisheries policy (CFP) was launched

2002 − Reform of the CFP:

  • A simpler system for limiting fishing capacity was introduced. The new system gave more responsibility to Member States to achieve a better balance between the fishing capacity of their fleets and available resources.
  • Funding for the modernisation of the fishing fleet was made available through the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG; 2000-06) and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF; 2007-13)

2014 − New reform of the CFP aiming for environmentally, economically and socially sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. The new policy introduces sustainable catch limits, more selective catches and a landing obligation.