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 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.
July 12, 2011