Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) brings together a range of measures to manage the fisheries of European countries, with the aim to achieve a thriving and sustainable fishing industry. Within the CFP, there are measures to manage fish stocks to ensure the fishing pressure is not higher than the stocks can sustain, which include Total Allowable Catches (TAC) and stock recovery measures. Discards of unwanted catch (often referred to as by-catch) occurs for a number of reasons which are outlined on Defra’s website . This is widely seen as a wasteful practice, proving to be detrimental to the environment and costly for fishermen. Defra is currently working to reduce discards through various initiatives both in the UK and at a European level.

Common Fisheries Policy Reform

The CFP has not delivered its key objectives, resulting in the deterioration of both the heath of fish stocks and profitability of fishing businesses. The Commission has started a review of the CFP to make it more efficient in ensuring the economic viability of the European fleets, conserving fish stocks, integrating with the Maritime Policy and providing good quality food to consumers. Priorities for the reform within the UK include the production of a simplified, regionalised CFP with incentives for fishermen to operate sustainably and profitably, whilst reducing discards.

UK response to the Green Paper on the CFP reform

European Commission report on the results of the consultation

The Commission’s draft regulatory proposals for CFP reform is expected in late spring 2011, with the final regulation due to come into force on 1 January 2013.

Further reading:

The Common Fisheries Policy: A Users Guide

Defra’s Fisheries 2027 – a long-term vision for sustainable fisheries

More information about the CFP reform can be found on the European Commission website


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