Chapter on Fisheries

Reforms in CFP

​New measures were come into force on June 1st, 2003. These measures amended and considerably changed the structure of the Charter of Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance and basic rules managing CFP since 1993 and gave its place to the European Fund for Fisheries by June 01st, 2007. In order to encourage the discard of vessels, the measures adopted the establishment of urgent fund (also called vessel breaking fund).

These measures will make fisheries management productive and provide sustainable use of resources in the long term. It has been aimed to improve the financial capacity of fisheries sector. Major changes envisaged in the Common Fisheries Policy are as follows:

 Objectives of CFP; have been reviewed to focus on the sustainable use of aquatic living resources according to the scientific advice and measurement approach to fisheries management. On the other hand, they cover sustainable aquaculture.

 CFP has been completely integrated through establishing balance considering the environmental, economic and social aspects as well as sustainable development of Union.

A Long Term Approach to Fisheries Management

 By adopting a longer-term approach to fisheries management, multi-year improvement programs for the ones out of safe biological stock limits and multi-year plans for other stocks have been implemented. These plans – prepared for relevant countries and characterized by each stock and catching method – will cover multi-year catching objectives, improvement plans for any case, decreasing fishing efforts for these objectives and enabling the plan to achieve its objectives when necessary. They will also cover other proper technical measures. This approach will prevent sudden yearly changes in catch amounts and enable fishermen to work under more balanced conditions and to plan their fishing activities more efficiently. With the reform, it has been planned to suggest several improvement and management plans immediately and to initiate them in 2003.

 Through new applications, measures to be taken by the Commission will be implemented within 6 months and may be extended for further 6 months when necessary, in case there is a serious threat against marine ecosystem or against the conservation of resources within the framework of fishing activities. Decisions to be taken by member states for their own continental shelf will be valid for three months.

 Member states can decide and implement measures on resource conservation and management for all fishing vessels within the zone of 12 nautical miles. When benefiting from the consultancy of Council, these decisions will be taken without leading discrimination between other relevant member states and relevant Regional Advisory Council. Moreover, the decisions will take the place of conservation measures of European Union, if there is no in practice.

Fleet Policies and Government Supports to the Fleets

EU has restricted fishing efforts of fishing fleets. In order to match the balance between available resources and catching, it has adopted an easier system. The former system, Multi-Year Guidance Programs, which were proved unproductive in excess fleet capacity and in arrangement, will be changed. New system will give member states more responsibility to establish balance between fishing fleets and fishable resources. The system covers the following measures:

 Reference levels will be adjusted according to Multi-Year Guidance Programs dated December 31st, 2002. When the capacity in government supports is drawn back, reference levels will be reduced automatically and permanently. (If a vessel is drawn from service by the supports from Government, reference levels will be reduced to equivalent capacity level); for each registered gross tonnage joined to the fleet by means of government supports, (for the following two years, 2003 and 2004), Member States will end vessel activities without giving government support.

 Member states giving government support for renewing fishing fleets after 2003 and 2004 will have to reduce total capacity of their fleets by 3 % with respect to reference points.

 Supports for renewal of fishing vessels will be distributed in the following two years (till the end of 2004) and given only for the vessels under 400 GT. The supports will be restricted for Member States which achieved all objectives envisaged by the Multi-Year Program IV (MAGP IV); and, sharing conditions should comply with the conditions of input/output rate. This two-year program will allow member states to modernize their fleets and also will remark that no support to increase fishing efforts will be paid after 2004.

 In order to improve safety, product quality or working conditions, supports for vessel modernization will be given for vessels not younger than 5 years for furnishing them with selective fishing gear and technics and for establishing Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). EU funding will be restricted for Member States achieved all capacity objectives in Multi-Year Guidance Programs.

 In order to provide additional discount in fishing efforts for enabling member states to succeed in their improvement plans, “vessel breaking fund” of 32 million Euros was created. In terms of fishing efforts; vessels, number of which should be reduced by 25 % or more after improvement, can also get support from such funds. Premiums will be 20 % more than the vessels discarded by Financial Instrument Fund for Fisheries Guidance.

 Supports for EU vessels to be send to the 3rd countries permanently will be paid till the end of 2004. The amount of premium will be restricted with 30 % of discarding premium of the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance in export and with 80 % in joint ventures.

Reforms on socio-economic measures

 Supports given by member states to the vessel owners and fishermen who had to suspend their fishing activities temporarily can be allocated in successive terms of 3 months or in a term of 6 months for a whole period between 2000 and 2006, on condition that suspension was caused by not-envisaged cases. In case the temporary suspension is caused by the implementation of an improvement or multi-year administration scheme or by urgent measures taken by the Commission or Member States, the period of supports can be expanded from one year to two years.

 Supports for training of fishermen to encourage them to return professional activities out of catching sector shall also be given for encouraging them to diversify their activities out of fishing through allowing them to continue their fishing activities part-time.

Reforms on access to waters and resources

 Current system restricting the access of fishing vessels to 6-12 mile zones where they have been in service traditionally is maintained. These restrictions are effective in the restriction of fishing efforts in most vulnerable zones and in the conservation of conventional fishing activities regarding the social and economic development of specific coastal communities. This system will be implemented till December 31st, 2012 and later changed by the Council upon a Commission report.

 Other regulations such as restricting access to Shetland Box will maintain. Commission will review this regulation and similar ones in 2003 with regards to evaluate the conservation and sustainability of resources. The Council will probably decide on changes at the end of 2004.

 In terms of access to western waters including Ireland Box, the Council have not made a decision yet based on the proposal of Commission aiming to stop distinctive measures restricting access to some of these waters.

 Relative stability principle based on limited share of stocks for each member state is reserved. It has been provided a reference called “Hague preferences” which allocates supplementary fishing opportunities for safeguarding particular needs of regions where local population is dependent on fisheries and related activities (This provision is related to the United Kingdom and Ireland).

 In terms of access to North Sea; Transitional Period covering the restrictions on access of Spanish, Portuguese and Finn fishing vessels to specific zones will end on December 31st, 2012 and these vessels will gain right to make fishing through using unregulated and unallocated resources in these zones by January 1st, 2013. They will be monitored in order to evaluate whether unregulated fishing affects the regulated one; if so, the Commission will propose new rules upon scientific advice.

Total Allowable Catch Amounts of 2003 – Fishing opportunities and common conditions for specific fish stocks and fish stock groups in 2003, Council’s Charter Proposal defining temporary measures for improvement of some cod stocks in community waters

Due to difficulties in controlling low catching limits and high collapse risk of some cod stocks, scientists from International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and Scientific, Technical, Economic Committee on Fisheries proposed a moratorium on fisheries. Because of economic and social effect of such a measure on relevant fleets and following the consultation with scientists, Commission proposed measures on seriously reduced fishing opportunities, restrictive measures on fishing efforts and control measures regarding cod and cod-related fisheries, in order to provide proper execution as an alternative to moratorium.

The Council agreed on temporary improvement proposals regarding cod and determined Total Allowable Catches generally higher than the level proposed by the Commission.

Therefore, the Commission made a proposal for reducing fish mortality rate by 80%, which will cause 66% reduction in Total Allowable Catches in cod stock in North Sea. In consequence, the Council agreed to reduce fish mortality rate by 65% for reducing the Total Allowable Catches by 45%. For common species (for example, species caught with cod) in North Sea, the rates proposed and determined by the Council are as follows:

haddock 70% -  50%

hake  76% -  60%

scald fish  17% -  5%


Reforms on control and execution

 One of the main restrictions of CFP reform is the fulfilment of more compatible CFP rules contributing to the strengthening of implementation and the establishment of equal conditions. By this way, measures related to control will be more effective; and, both responsibility share between member states and Commission and the main requirements of administers and fishermen in marketing chain will be made clear. The effective control, inspection and implementation of CFP rules are under the responsibility of member states.

 Cooperation among member states will be strengthened and each member state will control its fleet not only within its own waters and community waters but also in the community waters outside 12 mile zone of other member states. Moreover, member states will have the authority to control the vessels of other member states within community waters on condition that the relevant coastal country gives consent and that the inspections are executed within a special monitoring program. Any member state will have the authority to inspect EU fishing vessels with the flag of another member state in the international waters. For all other cases, the authority of inspection by another member state will be given upon will.

 Inspection and monitoring reports prepared by Community inspectors, inspectors of other member states and Commission inspectors can be regarded as admissible proof in administrative or legal methods in any member state.

 In order to reduce inequalities caused by the violation of CFP rules, the Council will prepare a sanction catalogue for the implementation by member states, for prevention the creation of prejudice on the implementation of CFP rules in compliance with the national law of member states. Member states will have to take urgent measures against the ones who keep on violating the rules seriously.

 The Commission will be responsible for evaluating and monitoring whether the CFP rules are implemented by member states. In case the Commission finds proof about fishing activities leading serious danger on the conservation of resources, it will take urgent preventive measures. These measures which have to be proportional with current risk can apply for 3 week period and may be extended up to 6 months.

 The Commission can impose penalty to member states which go beyond its own fishing opportunity through making deduction from the quota of relevant member states.

 In order to provide more effective monitoring on the implementation of CFP rules by member states, the Commission can execute inspections on the vessels, business priorities and other organizations dealing with CFP, without being accompanied by the inspectors of member states. However, these inspections are limited with the places where catches are first landed, with the first sale of catches and with the fishing vessels. Such inspections will not be executed upon the objection of inspected party.

 Satellite based Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) will apply for vessels higher than 18 meters after January 01st, 2004 and for vessels higher than 15 meters after January 01st, 2005

 Views joining national and EU monitoring-inspection resources regarding the establishment of united inspection structure at community level will be presented by the Commission at the beginning of the following year.


Reforms on the involvement of entrepreneurs and decision making by participants

In order to increase participation of fishermen and entrepreneurs, the Council established Regional Advisory Committees (RACs) in CFP. These councils consist of fishermen, scientists, consumer groups dealing with fishing areas and marine zones and the representatives of fishing, aquaculture and environment. Moreover, national and local authorities from any member state can also participate in the Councils and attend the meetings in the Commission.

 The Commission may apply to Regional Advisory Boards, may make offers and proposals, or may warn the Commission or a Member State regarding the problems on the implementation of CFP rules in a region.  Each Regional Advisory Board will be responsible for marine zones under the authority of at least two member states and will apply its own rules.

Moreover, the Council concluded an Action Plan proposed for fisheries in Mediterranean Sea, which covers a range of measures to be implemented by 2003.

In the scope of CFP Reform, the Council considered other proposals made by the Commission at the beginning of year: Community Action Plan aiming to include environmental protection requirements within CFP, Community Action Plan for eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishery, a strategy for sustainable development of European aquaculture, an Action Plan meeting the social, economic and regional results of the restructuring of EU fisheries industry, and an Action Plan aiming to reduce fish wastes. These regulations will be implemented as of 2003.​

Common Fisheries Policy

​Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the EU tool for the management of aquaculture hunting and farming. It was introduced to manage a common source and meet the obligations in the major Community Agreements. Because fish is a mobile and natural source, it is considered as a common property. In addition, the conventions that make up the Community state that there must be a common policy in this field, which is adopted at the Community level and implemented in every country.

The governments of the Member States gave the Community the authority to introduce common rules for European fisheries industry in 1957. However, contracting of a Community-wide agreement on a system permitting the protection and processing of fish stocks was only possible in 1983. New problems emerged by the accession of Spain and Portugal into EU in 1986 and the consumption increased by half. A new series of problems regarding the Baltic Sea needed to be taken into consideration with the EU accession of Finland and Sweden in 1995.

Common Fisheries Policies have been existing since they were first introduced in 1970. The rules were established for making use of fishery areas, markets and structures. Principally, it was concluded that Community fisheries should benefit from Member Countries’ territorial waters equally. However, in order to enable small ships to fish near anchoring ports, a stretch of land along the seashore is reserved. Measures to establish a common market for fisheries, to modernise fishing vessels and coordinate seashore plants have also been taken.

All these measures gained more importance in 1976 when Member Countries extended their rights over sea sources from 12 to 200 miles off their seashores after following an   international  movement. Member Countries also decided that the Community should be tasked with the governance of the waters in their own jurisdiction and the defence of their own interests in international negotiations. After years of tough negotiations CFP emerged in 1983.


CFP must take biological, economic and social dimension of fishing into consideration.   These dimensions are grouped into four main fields regarding foreign policy on fisheries including  preserving of stocks, structural elements (vessels, port facilities, fish processing plants), common market order, fisheries agreements with non-members of the Community and the negotiations with international institutions.