Fishing quotas for each member state are set on an annual basis by the Council of Ministers. If a member state exceeds its annual quota for a certain stock, i.e. overfishes its quota, the Commission, in line with the 2009 Fisheries Control Regulation, must take action to correct this situation in the following year(s).
The guidelines set out how this should be done in practice. As a general rule, the Commission should recover the overfished amounts as quickly as possible, preferable in the following year, except in very specific cases. For the cases where no quota is allocated in the year following the overfishing for the concerned stock deductions are to be operated on other stocks. In such cases, the Commission will first operate the deductions on stocks fished by the fleet that overfished.
By setting these guidelines (to be used for 2012 as well as for the coming years) the Commission wants to ensure that the deductions are operated in a transparent and comprehensive way and in conformity with the principle of equal treatment.