Fishermen catch fish from fish stocks, which generally have a high, but not unlimited, reproductive capacity. If fishing is not controlled, stocks may collapse or fishing may cease to be economically viable. It is in everyone's interest to have a fisheries management system in place to
The principal aim of fisheries management under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to ensure high long-term fishing yields for all stocks by 2015 where possible, and at the latest by 2020. This is referred to as maximum sustainable yield. Another increasingly important aim is to reduce unwanted catches and wasteful practices to the minimum or avoid them altogether, through the gradual introduction of a landing obligation. Lastly, the new CFP has overhauled its rules and management structure, with regionalisation and more extensive stakeholder consultation.
Fisheries management can take the form of input control, output control, or a combination of both. Input controls include:
Output controls mainly consist of limiting the amount of fish from a particular fishery, in particular through total allowable catches (see TACs and quotas).
The Common Fisheries Policy increasingly has recourse to multi-annual plans which often combine different management tools.
Fisheries management is based on data and scientific advice, and control measures to ensure that rules are applied fairly to and complied with by all fishermen.
Fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environmentWe all depend on healthy ecosystems: for food, energy, raw materials, air and water. That is why the EU has adopted laws to protect our environment and safeguard biodiversity – whether on land and at sea.This includes environmental legislation like the Birds and Habitats Directives or the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (or Marine Directive), which aims to create a framework for the sustainable use of our marine waters.In order to meet their environmental obligations under the three directives, EU countries need to take action on various fronts. This includes addressing different human activities affecting the seas, for instance fisheries.Since fisheries policy is an exclusive competence of the European Union, it is up to the EU to take any fisheries-related measures.However, the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) also gives member states the chance to play an active role in designing fisheries conservation measures (so-called regionalisation). Affected countries may submit joint recommendations as regards the fisheries conservation measures deemed necessary to achieve those environmental objectives. The Commission can then adopt legislation on the basis of those recommendations, effectively turning them into binding EU law.
Following consultation of Member States and stakeholders, the Commission has adopted a Staff Working Document on the establishment of conservation measures under the Common Fisheries Policy for Natura 2000 sites and for Marine Strategy Framework Directive purposes (SWD(2018)288 final). This guidance document will be of assistance for the establishment of fishery management measures under Article 11 of the CFP Regulation in order to comply with environmental legislation, in particular for preparing joint recommendations to be adopted through Commission delegated acts.
Joint recommendations received so far:
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1181 of 2 March 2017 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/117 establishing fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the Baltic Sea and repealing Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/1778
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/117 of 5 September 2016 establishing fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the Baltic Sea and repealing Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/1778
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1180 of 24 February 2017 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/118 establishing fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the North Sea
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/118 of 5 September 2016 establishing fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the North Sea
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Regulation of 11/12/2013
Legislation on conservation of fish stocks (EUR-Lex)
Facts and figures on the CFP
Illegal fishing (IUU)
The Commission, the Council and the Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) for the period of 2021-2027. In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and Sustainable Development Goal 14, it provides an ambitious support package for the achievement of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the development of local coastal communities, the promotion of a sustainable blue economy, the implementation of the Union’s maritime policy towards safe and sustainably managed seas and oceans, and for international ocean governance.
The European Commission is lifting the yellow card to Kiribati after four and half years of close cooperation. The “yellow card” is an official warning issued by the European Union to trading partners falling short of tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. By lifting the card, the European Commission recognises the important progress of Kiribati in addressing the shortcomings in its fisheries governance.
The European Commission is in the process of shaping a new comprehensive approach to the blue economy. A stakeholder consultation on the future of the blue economy is currently underway and open till 7 December 2020.