Reformed Common Fisheries Policy enters into force | JPI OCEANS

Reformed Common Fisheries Policy enters into force

2014.01.03

Reformed Common Fisheries Policy enters into force

European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, welcomes the adoption of the reform she initiated in July 2011

The 1st of January welcomed both a New Year and the application of the newly reformed CFP to the waters of the European Union. Emerging as a reaction to indications that the EU fleet continues to catch more fish than safely reproducible, the reform intends to create a fisheries policy that will provide a sustainable, economical future for the European Unions’ fisheries.

Receiving Parliamentary approval on the 10th of December, 2013, the policy intends to end overfishing and make the industry environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. This is to be achieved through a variety of methods, including; improvement of scientific knowledge, management of fishing fleet capacity and the banning of discarding commercial fish (which will be implemented progressively, starting January 2015). 

Decentralised governance

The new CFP will also end micro-management from Brussels: EU legislators will define the general framework, the principles and standards, the overall targets, the performance indicators and the timeframes. Member States  will then cooperate at regional level and develop the actual implemenation measures. When all Member States concerned agree, these recommendations can be transposed into rules applicable to all fishermen concerned.

Developing sustainable aquaculture

In addition the CFP aims to develop a better framework for aquaculture to reduce dependence on imported fish and contribute to growth in coastal and rural areas. By 2014, Member States should draft national strategic plans to improve conditions for aquaculture, remove administrative barriers and uphold environmental, social and economic standards for the farmed-fish industry.

Multi-annual, ecosystem-based management

Multi-annual plans remain at the centre of the management of EU fisheries. The plans will move through from the current single-stock plans to fisheries-based plans. They will cover more fish stocks in fewer plans to support the goal of sustainability. Under the scope of these plans, the annual fishing opportunities will be fixed by the Council of the European Union.

The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, believes the reform will “radically change our fisheries and will pave the way for a sustainable future” and that it “mean[s] we can now return to sustainable fishing in the short term and put an end to wasteful practices”.

For a more comprehensive list of the policy’s main elements see here and the original press release here.

UPDATE (06/02/2014): The 28th of January saw welcome news, the Council and Parliament have reached a political agreement regarding the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund which will serve to support the reforms of the CFP. Commissioner Maria Damanaki said she was “very happy about this outcome, because we can now go full steam ahead and implement the radical changes we have agreed last year to finally put European Fisheries on a sustainable footing once and for all.” The agreement takes the fund a step closer to its competencies in providing support in some key areas, such as; the revitalisation of fish stocks, reduction in the environmental impacts of fisheries and reducing wasteful discard.


It is hoped the fund will encourage innovation in small-scale fisheries to provide an economic boost to Europe’s coastal areas and support the growing European Aquaculture industry. Additionally, fishery data collection is set to improve in order to facilitate evidence based decision making, and the initiation of fishery control programmes will enforce compliance with rules and regulations about sustainable fishing will quicken Europe’s development of healthy seas and oceans.

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