European fisheries are managed through the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is a set of regulations covering all aspects of fisheries management from technical measures to Total Allowable Catches and fishing subsidies. The CFP is the most important legislation to manage fisheries in the EU, with the purpose to ensure that fishing activities are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
The previous CFP was adopted in 2002. It was at the time of a major step towards a better management of marine resources, as it established conservation as one of its objectives, but it failed to put a stop to the overexploitation of European fishing grounds.
For years, Oceana in Europe worked towards reforming the CFP to ensure the long term sustainability of marine resources. Our experts maintained contacts with decision-makers. They also contributed to the consultation of 2009 by submitting a position paper, and advocated for the top 10 policy recommendations.
Between July 2011 and November 2012, the European Commission presented a package of five texts, including two major legislative proposals (the CFP basic regulation and the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, EMFF), which were forwarded to both the European Council and the European Parliament as part of the co-decision procedure.
The renewed CFP came into force on 1 January 2014. It includes a number of positive elements for sustainable fisheries, such as: the progressive implementation of a ban on discards and the obligation to restore and maintain populations of harvested species above levels which can produce the Maximum Sustainable Yield. Exploitation rates must be at MSY levels by 2015 where possible, and by 2020 at the latest.