Report | June 14, 2021

Common Fisheries Policy: Mission not yet accomplished


Seven years after the last reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) entered into force, the EU, which has exclusive competence in this area, is yet to succeed in fulfilling its objectives. Implementation and enforcement challenges remain, often due to Member States’ inaction,  insufficient oversight by the European Commission  and industry resistance to change. Possible solutions exist within the CFP itself, or in other available legal instruments, without the need to reform the CFP Basic Regulation in the medium-term.

Article 49 of the CFP Basic Regulation states that: “The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the functioning of the CFP by 31 December 2022”. In anticipation of this report, this policy paper aims to provide a constructive assessment by mapping weaknesses in CFP implementation and opportunities to address them. We offer recommendations for tackling the gaps to end overfishing, including in the Mediterranean Sea, for implementing the landing obligation, reducing the negative impacts of fishing on the environment, transitioning to low impact fisheries, eliminating harmful subsidies, improving regionalisation and the external dimension, and addressing the lack of climate change considerations in the CFP.

NGOs call on the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, Member States, and relevant stakeholders to deliver urgently on the CFP’s objectives to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of fisheries and of the coastal communities that depend on them.