CFP reform

The framework regulating fisheries in the European Union is staked out in its Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The current CFP has been applicable since 1 January 2014, after almost seven years of negotiations, where the OCEAN2012 alliance consisting of over 120 members interested in sustainable fisheries, across 20 EU member states, played an important role in transforming European fisheries through the CFP.

Nets dryingThe seed of the EU Common Fisheries Policy was contained in the Rome Treaty in 1957, under Article 38. But it took ten years before the main principles for a joint policy were outlined and the Commission’s DG FISH (now DG MARE – The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) was created in 1976.

The policy we know today, consisting of four main sections dealing with fisheries management, market and trade, funding of the policy and external aspects, did not materialise until 1983. Fisheries (resource) management was the last policy area to be added. In the basic regulation outlined in 1983, a ten year reform cycle was created, with particular articles to be reviewed. The next reform of the CFP is scheduled to be in place by 2022.

to achieve MSY by 2020 at the latest

The current CFP sets out to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2020 at latest with the goal to move towards and ecosystem based approach. It furthermore gives EU countries greater control at national and regional level.

Last updated: January 14, 2016

Recent publications

Reporting progress on achieving MSY exploitation rates

December 17, 2015

This letter was sent to Director General João Aguiar Machado at The European Commission, DG Maritime Affairs & Fisheries regarding reporting progress on...


MoU with ICES and information on biomass levels of stocks

November 24, 2015

This letter was sent to Director General João Aguiar Machado at The European Commission, DG Maritime Affairs & Fisheries regarding the MoU with ICES and...


The landing obligation and 2016 Atlantic fishing quotas

November 12, 2015

This letter was sent to the Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries ahead of the Commission’s proposal for 2016...


Multiannual Plan for the Baltic Sea – joint NGO priorities for the Fis...

April 16, 2015

This briefing was sent to Fisheries Ministers in advance of their AgriFish Council meeting on 20 April, 2015, National Fisheries...