Common Fisheries Policy

Nets dryingWe work continuously to improve the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the framework regulating fisheries in the European Union.



The current CFP has been applicable since 1 January 2014, after almost seven years of negotiations, where FishSec took part as members of the OCEAN2012 alliance. The 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.

The 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 did not materialise until 1983. It consists of four main sections dealing with fisheries management: market and trade, funding of the policy and external aspects. 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 CFP now gives EU countries greater control at national and regional level.


The CFP Today

The current CFP sets out to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2020 at latest, with the goal to move towards an ecosystem based approach. However, despite loud and repeated reminders over the years, from FishSec and many environmental groups across the EU, fisheries ministers failed to meet the 2020 MSY deadline.


End overfishing don’t greenwash it

The European Commission said that almost 99% of landings in the Northeast Atlantic would be fished sustainably in 2019. Scientists disagree and say there is still a long way to go. Time is up. Help us #EndOverfishing.

Watch the video.



Last updated: November 6, 2023

Recent publications

Recommendations to the EU on the setting of fishing opportunities for ...

September 15, 2023

The 19 NGO signatories of this document wish to present our recommendations on the setting of fishing opportunities for 2024,...

Joint NGO feedback to the European Commission on the “Sustainable fish...

August 4, 2023

Joint response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the progress towards achieving more sustainable fisheries, the state of fish...

Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2024

June 19, 2023

The Baltic Sea ecosystem is in severe distress and the major commercial fish stocks have never been in worse condition. In...

NGOs urgent request to the Swedish Presidency on the EU’s fisheries co...

January 20, 2023

ClientEarth, the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, Our Fish, Sciaena, Seas at Risk, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation,  The Fisheries...