Written by Irina Popescu,
The European Union has sole responsibility for the conservation of its marine fisheries resources, and manages them under the common fisheries policy (CFP). Launched in 1983 and reformed every ten years since then, the CFP has come a long way. The current framework, resulting from the 2013 CFP reform, is aimed at ensuring that EU fisheries are sustainable – environmentally, economically and socially. The CFP has a dedicated financial instrument – the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) – with a budget of €6.4 billion for the 2014-2020 period.
The 2013 reform introduced the target to achieve exploitation of all stocks at sustainable levels by 2020, and provided several major tools to support progress towards this goal. In particular, adoption of multiannual plans has become a priority, to ensure long-term management of stocks. An obligation to land all catches was designed to end the practice of discarding fish back into the sea. The reform introduced regionalisation of decision-making, with the possibility to adopt conservation measures based on joint recommendations by the Member States concerned.
With implementation of the reformed CFP as the main feature of the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, legislative work has made headway on several important topics. A series of multiannual plans have been launched, and two of them, concerning fisheries in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, are now in force. The landing obligation has been phased in, as scheduled, from 2015 to 2019. The EU adopted an updated framework for collection of fisheries data to support management decisions, as well as a new system of managing fishing authorisations, and improved monitoring of EU vessels fishing outside EU waters. EU activities have also covered different aspects of the CFP’s external dimension, such as conclusion of fisheries agreements with third countries, and participation in international fisheries governance. In the future, further progress is expected on issues such as adoption of multiannual plans and the revision of the fisheries control system. The EMFF will be renewed as part of the next EU multiannual budget for 2021-2027. Taking stock of progress made in implementing the latest reform and achieving its objectives, with a view to future CFP developments, will also be on the agenda.
Read this complete briefing on ‘EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Fisheries‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.