Common Fisheries Policy, CFP

(Photo: Commission)

Common Fisheries Policy, CFP

Fish are seen as an agricultural product, and therefore governed by the treaty articles on agriculture. The EU has a Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). In order that the coastal waters of the EU are not over-fished, fishing quotas are allocated to member states. 

The EU decides the Total Allowance Catch (TACs) by a qualified majority vote in the Council. The decisions reached often ignore the amount of fishing that scientists advice is necessary in order to sustain fish stocks. The EU also decides, by qualified majority vote, what amount of fish can be caught by each nation. 

The final rules made by the Council of Ministers usually allow more fishing than is recommended by the biological council. 

The Lisbon Treaty provided that the conservation of marine biological resources must be under the control of only the EU as an exclusive EU competence while general fishing policy is a shared competence. EU law therefore only suppresses member states' existing legislation and right to legislate in this area when the EU has decided on a law.  

Discarding of fish at sea under the fisheries policy has been reduced. Here you can find relevant links:    

Advice from ICES til EU – commentary on discards

Impact assessment ordered by the Commission



In 2009 there were 795 different legal acts covering "Fisheries” in the "Directory of Community legislation in force”. 

In 2002, the EU Commission proposed a new CFP. Spain disagreed with this and the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, asked the Commission President, Romano Prodi, to sack the fisheries Director General, the Dane Steffen Smidt. He succeeded and Smidt was removed from office.

By December 2002, a new version of the CFP was produced with which Spain agreed. 

The EU enters into fishery agreements with other countries, which are often criticised for being bad for poor developing countries in Africa.