The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries policy of the European Union. It sets quotas for which member states are allowed to catch what amounts of each type of fish, as well as encouraging the fishing industry by various market interventions. In 2004 it had a budget of €931 million, approximately 0.75% of the EU budget.
The Policy has been criticised both by scientists concerned with dwindling fish stocks, and by fishermen, who say it is threatening their livelihoods.
If ratified, the proposed Treaty of Lisbon will formally enshrine fisheries conservation policy as one of the handful of 'exclusive competences' reserved for the European Union, to be decided by Qualified Majority Voting. However, general fisheries policy remains a "shared competence" of the Union and its member states. Thus decisions will still be made primarily by the council of ministers, as is the case now.
The common fisheries policy was created to manage fish stocks for the European Union as a whole. Article 38 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome which created the European Communities (now European Union) stated that there should be a common policy for fisheries.
Fishing represents no more than 10% of local employment in any region of the EU, but it is often in areas where other employment opportunities are limited. For this reason, community funds have been made available to fishing as a means of encouraging regional development.
The market for fish and fish products has changed in recent years. Supermarkets are now the main buyers of fish and expect steady supplies. Fresh fish sales have fallen, but demand for processed fish and prepared meals has grown. Despite this, employment in fish processing has been falling, with 60% of fish consumed in the EU coming from outside. This is partly due to improvements in the ability to transport fresh fish internationally. Competitiveness of the EU fishing industry has been affected by overcapacity and shortages of fish to catch.
TACs are fixed annually by the council of ministers in December. They consider proposals drawn up by the European commission in consultation with its own scientific advisers (Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries STECF), the views of non EU fishing nations and those of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Each member state is responsible for policing its own quotas. Different countries distribute the available stock using different systems.
There is a minimum size for fish which may be landed. This led to a practice of simply dumping dead fish which were too small to be landed legally, so a minimum mesh size was introduced. allowing small fish to escape and replenish stocks. Choice of mesh is complicated because mature fish of different species are naturally different sizes and different nets must be used.
Each country is given a target for the size of their fleet. Funding is available to assist modernization of boats and installations, but also to buy out fishermen to reduce the fleet size. Money is available for advertising campaigns to encourage consumption of fish species which are not over fished, or are unfamiliar with the public. Also, grants are available to assist the industry in improving product quality and managing quotas.
There are now more than 160 producers organizations (PO) in the EU. These are voluntary organizations set up by fishermen or fish farmers to assist in selling their product. Their members must include a minimum percentage of vessels in that sector, not discriminate in terms of nationality or location of their members within the EU, and must comply with other EU regulations. Organisations are required to develop plans to adjust fish catches to market demand. They may require non-members fishing in the same areas to follow the same restrictions as members.
They are empowered to take produce out of the market if prices fall below levels set by the council of ministers and receive compensation from the community. Levels of compensation are set such that price falls as the amount of fish involved increases. Fish stocks may be stored and later returned to the market, or sold for animal feeds. Buying up of stocks must only be to cover occasional surpluses.
Tuna fishermen have a scheme where surplus stock is not bought up, but fishermen receive direct compensation if their income falls.
Most Mediterranean fishing is confined to a 12 mile (22 km) strip considered territorial waters. The EU belongs to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, which also makes recommendations for Mediterranean tuna. In 1994 conservation regulations were introduced banning certain fishing methods. In 1997 targets were set for tuna catches..
Enforcement involves managing quotas and implementing technical measures to preserve fish stocks. Inspectors may check fishing gear and inspect the register of fish caught. The type of fish caught will be checked and compared to quotas of total permitted catch for a vessel. Checks may be made in port or at sea, and using aerial photography.
Inspectors may also check fish processing factories to ensure that all fish is documented and can be traced to its source. EU inspectors check that hygiene and processing regulations in any country exporting to the EU are satisfactory and of an equal standard to controls within the EU.
Compliance also involves checking that the Multi-annual Guidance programmes (MAGPs) for the size of national fleets are observed.
Fish stocks may be affected by other human activity, such as general marine pollution running off land, oil spills from vessels, tourism and recreational activity, industrial activity such as marine quarrying or oil production. Seals and birds may take significant numbers of fish in certain areas.
In 1997 North Sea states and EU representatives agreed a joint approach to identifying risks to the marine environment. A precautionary approach was adopted to seek to prevent pollution before damage was caused to the environment. Studies are being undertaken to monitor stocks of all fish, not just those which are commercially important.
From 2007 to 2013, the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) will provide approximately 3.8 billion Euro to the European fishing sector. The adoption of the EFF was not uncontested, in particular by environmental groups, as it includes the possibility to fund vessel modernisation and other measures, which might increase pressure on already overfished stocks.
THE DELICIOUS ART OF CANNING IT'S TIME TO PUT UP THE SUMMER'S FRUITS FOR WINTER'S USE; AND IT'S NOT THAT DIFFICULT.(Home Front)(DOMESTIC ARTS PAGE)
Sep 14, 1997; Byline: Rebecca Jones Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer Diane Cornwell and Jenni Casados started at noon, and five hours and 14...