Category Archives: Maritime Affairs And Fisheries

Europe has a 70 000 kilometer coastline. The European Union’s coastal regions account for some 40 % of its gross domestic product and about 40 % of its population. The common fisheries policy (CFP) has the same the legal basis as the common agricultural policy (CAP), but differences between the two sectors led to a specific policy being drawn up for fisheries products. The objectives of the CFP are: protection of stocks against over-fishing; a guaranteed income for fishers; a regular supply at reasonable prices for consumers and the processing industry; and sustainable biological, environmental and economic exploitation of living aquatic resources.

Maritime affairs
General framework, Sectoral aspects.
Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector
General Framework, Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Markets, Social standards, Institutional aspects, Structural measures and financing, European Fisheries Fund, State aid.
Management of fisheries resources and the environment
Conservation of resources, Respect for the environment, Aquaculture, Surveillance and monitoring.
External relations and enlargement
Relations with Non-EU Member Countries, Regional Organisations, External Trade, Enlargement.

Maritime Policy Green Paper

Maritime Policy Green Paper

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Maritime Policy Green Paper

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Maritime Policy Green Paper

In June 2006, the Commission published a Green Paper on the different aspects of a future Community maritime policy. The Green Paper highlights Europe’s maritime identity and leadership, which is worth preserving at a time when environmental pressures are threatening the future of maritime activities. Consequently, the maritime policy must aim to promote a maritime industry that is innovative, competitive and environmentally-friendly. In addition to maritime activities, the Green Paper proposes that the approach include the issue of quality of life in coastal regions. With this aim in mind, the Green Paper considers what new tools and modes of maritime governance should be developed.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Green Paper: Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas [COM (2006) 275 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Green Paper is in line with the Lisbon Strategy. Its aim is to achieve sustainable development by reconciling the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the exploitation of the seas and oceans. For this reason, these latter aspects should be at the heart of the debate.

Maritime activities are an important area for the Lisbon Strategy, given the importance of the maritime economy. An estimated 3-5% of the European Union’s GDP is generated by marine-based industries. The EU is the world’s leading maritime power in terms of:

  • maritime transport (because of the level of seaborne trade);
  • coastal tourism (because coastline accounts for two-thirds of the EU’s borders);
  • offshore energy production (because of the North Sea gas and oil resources);
  • shipbuilding technologies (because of the construction of ships of exceptional quality in terms of their complexity, safety and environmental impact);
  • related services (because of the expertise in marine technology).

The EU is also the leader in a number of probable growth areas, such as the building of cruise ships, renewable energy and ports.

It is vital to maintain Europe’s competitiveness in these areas, which have an important socio-economic role. For this reason, the Green Paper examines the factors influencing competitiveness: the state of the marine environment, scientific knowledge in all areas relating to the oceans, innovation and the expertise of the workforce.

The marine environment

Some of the issues that the marine environment is facing include:

  • increasing loss of biodiversity (which has a knock-on effect for achieving the potential of “blue biotechnology”);
  • over-exploitation of resources (which has a knock-on effect on fisheries);
  • climate change (which has consequences for fisheries and coastal tourism);
  • land-based pollution;
  • acidification of seawater;
  • pollution caused by ship-based operational discharges;
  • maritime accidents (due to the absence of better maritime safety).

In order to reduce the impact of these environmental pressures, the thematic strategy for the marine environment is designed to:

  • further strengthen legislation on maritime safety;
  • introduce risk assessment as an instrument for drawing up policies in this field;
  • assist developing countries so that they can apply the ” Global Ballast Water Management Programme “;
  • introduce ballast water treatment technologies.

Research

Research is important for making fully informed strategic choices. It may benefit from the 7th Framework Programme, which pays particular attention to priority inter-thematic scientific areas. At the same time, Member States may go further by coordinating their national research programmes, so as to create a pan-European research network and avoid duplication. Cooperation between scientists and technology developers is also important.

Innovation

Innovation may help to find solutions in areas that are currently undergoing change, such as energy and climate change. The solutions can also benefit third countries choosing to adopt the model of sustainable development; in this way, such solutions could constitute a competitive advantage. Wind energy, tidal current turbines and deep sea gas and oil resources may provide new sources of energy. Carbon capture, the reduction of NOx emissions from ships, the abandonment of road transport in favour of maritime transport and methane hydrates may help in the fight against climate change.

Expertise of the workforce

The Green Paper examines ways of compensating for the lack of qualified labour resulting from the combination of a number of negative factors.

“Clusters” and the regulatory framework

These factors could also contribute to sustainable development. The private sector could organise itself into networks of maritime excellence, or ‘clusters’, around common projects. For its part, the legislature should simplify the legislation, to avoid the objectives of one policy having a negative impact on and contradicting other maritime objectives. It is essential for there to be a stable and coherent regulatory framework that has the support of stakeholders. The Green Paper also examines the establishment of incentive mechanisms for ship owners and even the monitoring of international rules on the high seas to combat the flying of flags of convenience.

Quality of life in coastal regions

Nearly half of Europe’s population lives on or close to coastlines, while the attraction of coastal areas is constantly increasing. For this reason, targeted statistics should be compiled to establish the transport infrastructure and services of general interest that are best suited to this trend.

Alongside the increase in the population living in coastal areas, the risks this population is facing are growing as a result of climate change among other things. Public authorities must therefore assess these risks in order to plan how to protect the population, economic activities and the environment, and how to manage the costs entailed. Once new responses to these risks have been established, the expertise gained can be exported to other countries.

The Green Paper examines the impact of sustainable tourism on local economies and studies the inter-relation between land- and sea-based activities. It takes into account the inextricable link between these two elements and proposes a unique and integrated management of the sea and land in coastal areas. Such integrated management would prove particularly useful with regard to managing marine pollution originating from land-based sources and managing the expansion of ports as multi-functional platforms.

New tools to manage our relations with the oceans

There is a need for a new European marine data network to incorporate existing national networks. The objective of this network would be to harmonise and collect data from multiple sources in order to serve a wide range of activities. It would form part of the GMES system.

Access to better data in real time would facilitate navigation and the detection of illicit activities at sea. Although the EU already complies with the provisions of the International Maritime Organization in this respect, interoperability with external systems can always be improved.

The Green Paper also proposes a spatial planning system to allow various activities to coexist along coastlines and to eliminate uncertainties on the part of investors with regard to obtaining authorisations. It is important to define spatial planning principles and to draw on the experience of Canada in this area.

As regards financial support, the Green Paper supports the need to improve global data on financial assistance and to examine how these resources might contribute to maritime policy.

New methods of maritime governance

The governance by sector or geographical area that is in force at present must be replaced by a cross-cutting approach. This will have consequences at national, European or international level.

Some Member States have already transferred a number of responsibilities from public authorities to single national authorities. The Member States may however deepen integration in the field of customs or in the safety of goods, as demonstrated by the examples of Frontex and the European Maritime Safety Agency. The establishment of a European coastguard service and the creation of a common maritime space for the European Union governed by the same set of rules are examples of other possible projects.

The integration of policies makes economies of scale possible and means that certain types of equipment and technology, such as marine surveillance systems, are more affordable.

Because of certain characteristics, marine ecosystems could be managed better at regional level. The European level could be used to defend the common interest and provide tools for spatial planning and supervising their use.

Climate change, the protection of biodiversity, illegal immigration, piracy, non-discriminatory access to the market for maritime services, and other phenomena make it imperative that the European Union share these new ideas with the international community and consider the best ways of promoting its vision.

Protecting maritime heritage and increasing public awareness

The various maritime sectors should cooperate to raise public awareness of maritime heritage and the role that oceans and seas have in all our lives. The Commission suggests using education as a channel for action. A more positive image would make it easier to recruit seafarers.

Background

Maritime policy forms part of the Lisbon Strategy by proposing to exploit synergies between regional policy and policies on fisheries, research and innovation, businesses, maritime transport, the environment and energy in order to promote sustainable development.

In addition, in its strategic objectives for 2005-09, the Commission has called for an exhaustive maritime policy, in other words one that will provide growth and ensure job creation, and therefore lend itself to the emergence of a strong maritime economy that will grow, be competitive and sustainable, in harmony with the marine environment.

The Green Paper calls on stakeholders to participate in the development of a cross-cutting vision of the oceans and seas. They have until 30 June 2007 to provide the Commission with their comments on the issues raised. By the end of 2007, the Commission will have completed the process by issuing a communication containing its proposals for the future.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 10 October 2007, “Conclusions from the Consultation on a European Maritime Policy” [COM(2007) 574 final — Not published in the Official Journal].

The Member States and the institutions of the European Union welcome the principle of the integrated management of maritime affairs. The EU institutions often wish to go even beyond the proposals made in the Green Paper, whereas opinion is more divided amongst civil society. There is consensus on objectives, but at times disagreement as to the solutions proposed. Environmental organisations view maritime policy as a way of involving environmental objectives in all sectors. All stakeholders agree on the importance of better public awareness of the seas and oceans, as this could improve the image of the maritime economy and make citizens more aware of the maritime environment. The consultation has opened a treasure chest of ideas and a desire to participate in a long-term project.

Action plan for an integrated maritime policy

Action plan for an integrated maritime policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan for an integrated maritime policy

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Action plan for an integrated maritime policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 October 2007 on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union [COM(2007) 575 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The creation of an integrated maritime policy requires a precise management framework. The Commission has created a Maritime Policy task force to analyse the interactions between the sectoral policies and coordinate them. It has also requested help from the Agencies of the European Union (EU) with maritime-related functions to draw up new policies. In addition, the development of new maritime policies involves consultation of civil society and all stakeholders as well as comprehensive impact assessments.

Objectives

The prime objective of an integrated maritime policy for the EU is to maximise sustainable use of the oceans and seas while enabling growth of the maritime economy and coastal regions. In order to ensure the competitiveness, safety and security of the sector, the European Commission commits to:

  • creating a strategy to alleviate the consequences of climate change in coastal regions;
  • enhancing professional qualifications and studies in the maritime field to offer better career prospects in the sector;
  • creating a European maritime space without administrative or customs barriers as well as a comprehensive maritime transport strategy for 2008-18 to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of maritime transport in Europe;
  • issuing guidelines on the application of environmental legislation relevant to ports and proposing a new ports policy taking account of the multiple roles of ports;
  • encouraging the formation of multi-sector clusters and promoting technological innovation in the shipbuilding and energy sector to ensure economic competitiveness without harming the environment;
  • supporting international efforts to reduce pollution of the atmosphere and greenhouse gas emissions attributable to ships;
  • taking steps against discharges into the sea, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and any other destructive practices.

A second key objective is building a knowledge and innovation base for the maritime policy. Marine science, technology and research enable analysis of the effects of human activity on marine systems and put forward solutions to alleviate environmental degradation and the effects of climate change. The European Commission plans to:

  • present a comprehensive European strategy for marine and maritime research;
  • improve understanding of maritime affairs for the 7th framework programme;
  • support the creation of a European marine science partnership with the aim of establishing dialogue between the scientific community, the industry and policy makers.

An integrated policy also has the objective of delivering a higher quality of life in coastal and outermost regions, reconciled with economic development and environmental sustainability. The Commission therefore aims in particular to:

  • encourage coastal tourism;
  • prepare a database on Community funding for maritime projects and coastal regions;
  • create a Community disaster prevention strategy in these regions;
  • develop the maritime potential of outermost regions and islands.

The EU intends, moreover, to promote its leading position in international maritime affairs. An integrated policy enables improved management of maritime affairs and the creation of EU priorities in this field. This is of particular importance given the global character of the problems encountered by the maritime sector. Therefore, the Commission will encourage:

  • cooperation in maritime affairs under the European Enlargement Policy, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Northern Dimension and structured dialogue with major partners. The application of international agreements by partners is essential;
  • the Member States to ratify and apply the relevant instruments.

The final objective of this integrated policy is raising the visibility of Maritime Europe and improving the image of this sector’s activities and professions. To this end, the Commission proposes positive actions and tools such as:

  • launch of educational tools (Atlas of the Seas) and instruments to highlight our common maritime heritage;
  • celebration of an annual European Maritime Day from 2008.

Instruments

Three instruments are of particular importance for creating common maritime policies:

  • a European network for maritime surveillance to ensure the safe use of the sea and the security of the EU’s maritime borders, as these problems are transnational in nature. The Commission particularly encourages cooperation between coastguards and the relevant agencies, and undertakes to improve the interoperability of surveillance systems;
  • integrated coastal zone management (land and sea) to enable maritime spatial planning. While it is the Member States who have competence in this field, Europe-wide commitment is essential. The Commission will propose a roadmap in 2008 to facilitate the development of this instrument;
  • a complete and accessible source of data and information on natural and human activity on the oceans to facilitate strategic decision-making on maritime policy. Measures will be taken to establish a European Marine Observation and Data Network and to create multi-dimensional mapping of Member States’ waters.

Background

The Communication follows on from the consultation launched in the Green paper on a Maritime Policy for the EU, by which the European Council of June asks the Commission to develop an action plan.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 October 2010 establishing a Programme to support the further development of an Integrated Maritime Policy [COM(2010) 494 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Proposal establishes a programme aimed at supporting the measures planned to further the development and implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy. It is part of the continuation of preparatory actions and pilots projects to be launched between January 2011 and December 2013. The programme will provide financial resources for achieving the objectives and priorities set out in the action plan which was adopted in 2007.
Codecision procedure (COD/2010/0257)

Commission Communication of 8 October 2010 – Marine Knowledge 2020: marine data and observation for smart and sustainable growth [COM(2010) 461 – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication details an action plan which makes up one of the three cross-cutting tools provided for by the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy. This action plan is divided into three strands aimed at improving the reliability of marine data, making it more user-friendly and less expensive and stimulating competitiveness amongst the users of this data.

Commission Communication of 15 October 2009 – Towards the integration of maritime surveillance: A common information sharing environment for the EU maritime domain [COM(2009) 538 – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication relates to the second cross-cutting tool provided for by the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy. It sets out guiding principles for the development of a common information sharing environment for the EU maritime domain and launches the process towards its establishment. To achieve this, coordination and coherence between the European Commission, the Member States and interlocutors should be enhanced.

Communication from the Commission of 25 November 2008 – Roadmap for Maritime Spatial Planning: Achieving common principles in the EU [COM(2008) 791 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Maritime Spatial Planning is an instrument of the Integrated Maritime Policy which helps to improve coordination between the parties involved and optimises the use of the seas and oceans. This Communication defines a set of fundamental principles inspired by current practice and existing legislation. These principles will serve as the basis for the discussions leading to the drafting of a common approach concerning Maritime Spatial Planning.

Report from the Commission of 15 October 2009 – Progress report on the EU’s integrated maritime policy [COM(2009) 540 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission reviewed progress carried out under the framework of the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) since the adoption of the 2007 Communication and defined the six strategic directions for the future:

  • integration of maritime governance: EU institutions, Member States and coastal regions shall establish effective structures for the purpose of cross-sectoral collaboration and consultation with stakeholders. These structures shall enable the potential of all the synergies between maritime-related sectoral policies to be used. As much as is possible, it should prevent sectoral policies from being isolated from each other.
  • development of cross-cutting policy tools such as maritime spatial planning, exhaustive knowledge and databases on maritime spaces and integrated maritime surveillance. These tools can unlock considerable economic investments and improve the management of European maritime spaces.
  • definition of the boundaries for maritime activities in order to ensure sustainability: in the context of the Framework Directive “Strategy for the marine environment”, these boundaries take into consideration the impact of the development of maritime activities on the seas and oceans.
  • sea-basin strategies: these strategies contribute to the success of the IMP. They enable the priorities and tools of the policy to be adapted to the specific geographic, economic and political context of each large European sea-basin.
  • strengthening the international dimension of integrated maritime policy: the EU must take a leading role in improving global maritime governance, as it has done in the matter of piracy or with regard to destructive fishing practices.
  • sustainable economic growth, employment and innovation: the EU shall define overall, coherent economic priorities in order to promote the development of intra-EU maritime transport, stimulate investment, advance the concept of clean ships and promote energy generation from the sea, etc. It shall also ensure that maritime policy and coastal areas are fully taken into account in the debate on territorial cohesion.

The Commission shall publish a document on the implementation of these six strategic directions in 2010.

Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

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Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Guidelines for developing national maritime policies

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 June 2008 on “Guidelines for an Integrated Approach to Maritime Policy: Towards best practice in integrated maritime governance and stakeholder consultation” [COM(2008) 395 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Union (EU) has proposed guidelines for the development of an integrated maritime policy, which constitutes one of the Commission’s strategic objectives for the period 2005-2009. This new approach at the European level is at the heart of the EU’s integrated maritime policy proposed by the Commission in October 2007. The guidelines set out the policy’s overarching vision and encompass the actions of Member States and maritime stakeholders towards an integrated approach to maritime affairs at the national level.

Member States are encouraged to establish their own integrated maritime policies in close collaboration with their national and regional maritime stakeholders. Due to the many interactions between different maritime policies, efficient coordination of every action developed by government organisations will be required. To achieve this it is advised that Member States improve and facilitate cooperation at all levels of maritime governance, including at the European level.

Member States should consider creating internal coordinating structures within their government frameworks (government departments, national parliaments, etc.). Such a structure could provide a government framework to facilitate decision-making at the national level. A post responsible for the coordination of maritime affairs could be created. The role would consist specifically of structuring the dialogue between the different sectoral interests.

Coastal regions and other local decision-makers should be allowed to play a role in the development of integrated maritime policies, taking into account their experience of Integrated Coastal Zone Management and regulating the spatial deployment of their activities.

All maritime stakeholders should participate in integrated maritime policy-making. These include economic partners (industries and services), social partners, NGOs, universities and research institutions. Their participation at the national, regional and local levels is recommended. Member States should authorise the participation of these stakeholders in the governance of maritime affairs whilst ensuring the transparency of the decision-making process.

It is essential to develop cross-border coordination at regional sea basin level, to ensure the dissemination of good practices and to develop improved cooperation between Member States in certain areas, such as those relating to the protection of the marine environment, to the safety, security, and surveillance of Europe’s maritime areas and to marine and maritime research. To this end, the European Commission is developing regional strategies and is currently preparing strategies for the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Commission invites Member States to share information on the steps they are taking towards integrated maritime governance. The Commission shall publish the collated information on the Internet in table form. The information could be used as a model for sharing good practice.

The Commission will report on progress towards an integrated approach to maritime affairs by the end of 2009, as stated in the Blue Paper on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU.

Context

These guidelines form a central part of the Communication on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (Blue Paper) adopted by the Commission in October 2007 and approved by the European Council in December 2007.

These guidelines also form part of the United Nations’ 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.

Strategy to improve maritime governance in the Mediterranean

Strategy to improve maritime governance in the Mediterranean

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy to improve maritime governance in the Mediterranean

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Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Strategy to improve maritime governance in the Mediterranean

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 11 November 2009 – Towards an Integrated Maritime Policy for better governance in the Mediterranean [COM(2009) 466 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Mediterranean basin faces conflicts concerning the use of space, risks affecting maritime security, the depletion of resources, degradation of the environment and the prejudicial effects of climate change. The solution to these common problems lies in improving governance of maritime affairs. This governance must in particular be able to ensure more sustainable growth for the region.

Promoting integrated maritime governance

In order to meet common challenges, cooperation with non-EU Mediterranean partners should be improved. However, this is not enough. Decision makers must take more account of the links between different maritime activities. They thus laid the foundations for the European Union (EU) Integrated Maritime Policy in October 2007. This new approach to maritime policy encourages them to abandon sectoral actions and promote a comprehensive strategy.

New action should in particular:

  • encourage stakeholders and administrations to define more comprehensive priorities for maritime affairs;
  • strengthen cooperation between stakeholders and administrations in all sectors related to the maritime field, throughout the Mediterranean basin;
  • assist Member States in exchanging best practices by means of the existing Community funds for territorial cooperation;
  • offer technical assistance under the European Neighbourhood Policy and Partnership Instrument to Mediterranean countries which are not members of the EU. This assistance may allow them to adopt a more integrated approach to maritime affairs;
  • encourage the ratification and application of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
  • create a working group dedicated to Integrated Maritime Policy in order to promote dialogue and cooperation with non-EU Mediterranean countries;
  • intensify multilateral cooperation with all sectors through specific studies and the better application of international and regional agreements governing maritime activities.

Using cross-cutting tools for integrated maritime governance

Since 2007, Integrated Maritime Policy has adopted a number of tools to promote maritime governance. These include:

  • Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) which leads to better use of marine space. The Commission is to carry out a study and set up a pilot project to apply MSM in the Mediterranean;
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) which also concerns islands. The Commission is to draw up a (web-based) inventory of best practices in the different maritime basins and disseminate ICZM in the Mediterranean under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme;
  • integrated research efforts which the Commission intends to strengthen in line with the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research. In particular, it wishes to set up a major cross-thematic research mechanism which is specifically adapted to the Mediterranean basin;
  • integrated maritime surveillance for a safer Mediterranean. Six coastal Member States are already participating in a pilot project aimed at strengthening cooperation and information exchange between the national authorities responsible for maritime monitoring and surveillance. This will improve the coherency of maritime surveillance throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 15 October 2009 – Developing the international dimension of the Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union [COM(2009) 536 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In this Communication, the Commission describes its strategy to strengthen its authority in multilateral and bilateral relations in the domain of maritime affairs. This strategy should allow the European Union (EU) to exercise greater influence over international debate on marine issues in order to safeguard its economic and social interests and increase protection of the environment. It should also contribute to sustainable maritime governance at global level.

This strategy covers a number of domains (for example the protection of marine biodiversity, climate change, maritime safety and security, working conditions on board ships and research into the marine environment) which necessitate international and integrated solutions.

European Union strategy

In order to improve global governance of seas and oceans, the EU must in particular:

  • strengthen its role as a global player through greater and more unified participation in multilateral fora;
  • promote membership of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at global level;
  • establish high-level dialogues on maritime affairs with key partners, ensuring synergies with existing sectoral dialogues in other policy areas;
  • pursue dialogue on Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) bilaterally through both European Neighbourhood Policy instruments and multilateral dialogue. Dialogue on IMP may be based on the frameworks put in place at sea-basin-level (e.g. Union for the Mediterranean, Northern Dimension, Black Sea Synergy). It can be supplemented by sharing best practices concerning the implementation of IMP instruments with countries neighbouring the EU and by encouraging these countries to use the instruments;
  • continue to work on moving oceans and coasts higher up the climate change agenda and provide assistance to developing coastal and island states in this field, in line with the EU development cooperation strategies and initiatives;
  • continue to support an integrated approach to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including for the establishment of marine protected areas;
  • pursue its cooperation with the ILO to encourage decent working conditions in the maritime sector;
  • pursue its actions to ensure freedom, safety and security of navigation, including actions against piracy;
  • continue and strengthen cooperation in research activities with third countries in order to enhance participation in large-scale international research programmes and with countries neighbouring the EU in order to define common regional marine research strategies;
  • ensure coherence between the activities of various organisations, notably in the fisheries, environment and transport fields;
  • encourage the OECD to develop a structure for exchange of best practices on integrated approaches to maritime affairs;
  • develop strategies for all relevant shared sea basins.

Context

The EU must pursue its efforts to improve dialogue with its neighbours, at both bilateral and regional level, including by concluding Regional Seas Conventions.

Regional approaches have already been launched for the Arctic, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean. The preparation of similar approaches for other sea basins is now of paramount importance. The EU can thus contribute to extending Integrated Maritime Policy at global level.

Maritime affairs

Maritime affairs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Maritime affairs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Maritime affairs

On account of the growing competition for the exploitation of maritime areas and the cumulative effect of human activities on marine ecosystems, an integrated maritime policy is a must. This is an overall policy which brings together several maritime activities, such as shipping, fisheries, energy, surveillance and monitoring of the seas, tourism, the environment, research, etc. The action plan, presented in October 2007 by the Commission, defines its framework and principal objectives. The integrated maritime policy aims to maximise sustainable exploitation of the seas and oceans, whilst at the same time allowing growth of the maritime economy and the coastal regions.

  • Action plan for an integrated maritime policy
  • Guidelines for developing national maritime policies
  • Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans
  • Strategy to improve maritime governance in the Mediterranean
  • Towards integrated maritime surveillance
  • Development and integrated management of coastal zones
  • Maritime Policy Green Paper

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

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Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (Green Paper)

This Green Paper aims to collect the opinions of all persons and organisations affected by the future of the fisheries sector. Despite the measures taken to ensure the sustainable future of the sector, a large number of problems remain, such as overfishing, an increase in seafood imports, Community fleet overcapacity, decreased profitability of the sector and the dependence on public aid. The consultation is the first stage in the process which should lead a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 22 April 2009 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2009) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Green Paper shall analyse all facets of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and seek to explain why certain problems persist despite the progress made since the 2002 reform.

Outcomes of the Common Fisheries Policy

The CFP reform provided for a series of measures to ensure the viability of fisheries. The principal measures adopted under the 2002 reform concerned, amongst others:

  • the introduction of multi-annual plans for stock recovery and management;
  • the integration of environmental concerns into fisheries management;
  • establishing Regional Advisory Committees (RACs);
  • the setting of national ceilings to adapt the fishing capacity of fleets to fishing opportunities;
  • limiting the number of days that a vessel can operate at sea;
  • a gradual withdrawal of public funds for the construction or modernisation of fishing vessels, whilst maintaining aid for improving safety and working conditions on board vessels;
  • establishing fisheries agreements aimed at creating partnerships with third countries.

However, the objectives set in 2002 have not been achieved. Today, the Common Fisheries Policy is characterised by overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience and a decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen. A radical change is needed to address these challenges.

Overcoming the five structural failings of the CFP

The depletion of European fisheries stocks is principally the result of fleet overcapacity. Several solutions are being considered to adapt the size of European fishing fleets to the stocks available. The use of transferable rights and/or the creation of a one-off fund could be a solution to this problem. However, accompanying measures aimed at preventing negative effects on smaller-scale fisheries and coastal communities still need to be drawn up.

The lack of clear political objectives, specifically with regard to ecological responsibility and the connection with general maritime issues, is the second weakness of the current CFP. The Green Paper shall consult the public on how to define the objectives in a clear and prioritised manner for decision-making and implementation.

The majority of decisions affecting the CFP are taken at Council level. This decision-making system is over-centralised and focused on short-term solutions, which compromises sustainability in the long-term. To alleviate this problem, decisions could be made jointly by the Council and the Parliament (co-decision procedure), leaving Member States, the Commission and/or the fisheries sector responsible for implementing the decisions. However, in this new system the role of consultative structures (the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Regional Advisory Committees) should be increased.

The sector lacks responsibility. Therefore a rethink is required on how to give the fisheries sector more responsibility in implementing the CFP, whilst also finding the means of ensuring that the self-management of the industry achieves its goals.

The final structural issue tackled by the Green Paper relates to the absence of political will to ensure compliance. In order to increase compliance with the regulations, the benefits and disadvantages of centralised mechanisms (such as direct Commission action or national/cross-border controls) and de-centralised mechanisms need to be examined by submitting them to consultation.

Improving the management of European Union fisheries

Restoring the productivity of fish stocks is required in order to ensure the economic and social viability of the fisheries sector. In order to improve the management of fisheries, many ideas have been submitted for consultation. These ideas concern:

  • the possibility of introducing a differentiated regime to protect small-scale coastal fleets;
  • the adoption of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a management principle and the introduction of long-term management plans in order to make the most of fisheries;
  • the relative stability of Community quotas and access to coastal fisheries;
  • trade in and the market for fisheries products and aquaculture products;
  • integrating the CFP into the broader context of maritime affairs;
  • scientific knowledge and data for policy decision-making;
  • Community funds for fisheries or national aid measures;
  • managing the fishing activities of Community fleets in non-EU waters in order to extend the principles of sustainable and responsible fishing to the international level;
  • the role of aquaculture in the future CFP.

Context

Although the Commission is only legally required to re-examine some of the dimensions of the CFP before 2012, the current situation, specifically with regard to stocks and fleet overcapacity, has convinced the Commission of the need to begin the reform process.

The consultation will close on 31 December 2009. It will form the basis of a public debate on the drafting of a proposal for a new regulation on the CFP. The latter could be presented to the European Parliament and the Council at the beginning of 2011, with a view to adoption in 2012.


Another Normative about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 13 July 2011 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2011) 417 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy. In order to do this, it must participate in introducing sustainable and inclusive growth, enhancing cohesion in coastal regions and improving the economic performance of the industry.

The proposals made by the Commission are directed towards sustainability and long-term solutions.

Conservation and sustainability

Through fisheries management that eliminates significant negative effects on other stocks, species and ecosystems, the CFP will contribute to the Good Environmental Status in the marine environment, in line with the provisions of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The measures adopted as part of the CFP reform should enable maximum sustainable yield (MSY) to be reached by 2015, in accordance with the international undertakings made by the European Union (EU). The highest catch that can be taken must not endanger long-term stocks. On the contrary, it should contribute to maintaining the size of the population at maximum productivity.

The measures envisaged also concern the elimination of discards at sea, long-term management plans based on the best available scientific advice, improving data collection and the availability of complete, reliable data for policy-making.

A future for fisheries and aquaculture

The CFP should make fisheries and aquaculture strong, viable, competitive and attractive industries. In order to increase economic viability and eliminate overcapacity, the Commission proposes to introduce a system of transferable fishing concessions for large vessels. The system should enable some operators to buy rights from other operators wishing to leave the industry. The system requires no public funding. Furthermore, it should enable incomes to be increased and new jobs to be created.

Support measures for small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture could also be developed.

Consumer information

Consumers will be better informed of the quality and sustainability of the products they buy. Labelling may include environmental claims or production techniques.

Fishermen’s organisations will become active stakeholders as regards planning their members’ fishing activities, and will play a more central role in driving and supplying the market, as well as increasing fishermen’s profit margins.

Improving governance through regionalisation

The reform should foster solutions that are adapted to local and regional needs, taking better account of the specific features of the different sea basins. Key decisions concerning the general principles and objectives of the policy will still be taken at EU level. However, Member States will be able to take other fisheries management measures, under Commission control. For reasons of effective management, Member States will in particular be able to adopt technical conservation measures and anti-discard measures and transpose them in their national legislation.

The Commission envisages extending the role of the Advisory Councils when drafting conservation policy under the regionalisation model. Due to the specific nature of aquaculture, the Commission also proposes to create a new Advisory Council for Aquaculture.

Financial support

Public funding should cover all activities. It will be thoroughly simplified and will be linked to compliance with certain conditions (particularly of sustainability) by industry operators. The intervention regime under the Common Market Organisation will also be modernised. From now on, the setting of intervention prices will be decentralised and appropriate in order to avoid the destruction of surplus fish to maintain price levels.

External dimension

EU external actions are aimed at sustainability and safeguarding marine ecosystems. They are mainly based on strengthening cooperation in order to share scientific knowledge and to comply with established rules, in particular concerning the fight against illegal fishing.

The EU must play a stronger role in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, international organisations and in its relations with third countries.

Sustainable Fisheries Agreements (SFAs) with non-EU countries must focus more on good management of marine resources, improving scientific knowledge and establishing a quality governance framework.

Context

The reform is based on a large-scale public consultation that was completed in late 2010. Contributions from stakeholders were used in drafting the reform, which includes the following:

  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation defining the main CFP rules [replacing Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002];
  • a legislative proposal concerning a new market policy [replacing Regulation (EC) No 104/2000];
  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation on the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries;
  • a Communication on the external dimension of the CFP; and
  • a report on Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 regarding the chapters Conservation and Sustainability and Adjustment of Fishing Capacity, and on Article 17(2) on fleet access restriction to 12 nautical miles.

Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Management of fisheries resources and the environment

Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 April 2009 – Building a sustainable future for aquaculture – A new impetus for the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture [COM(2009) 162 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Seven years on from the adoption of the strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture in 2002, significant progress has been made in ensuring the environmental sustainability and quality of European Union (EU) aquaculture production. However, unlike other regions in the world where high rates of growth have been recorded, the total volume of aquaculture production (mainly fish and shellfish) in the EU overall has stagnated.

In its Communication, the Commission examines the causes of this stagnation and envisages actions which are under the responsibility of public authorities, in order to improve competitiveness, sustainability and governance in the sector.

Barriers to the growth of European aquaculture

The European Union depends more and more on imports of fishery and aquaculture products. Even though European aquaculture benefits from dynamic support in terms of research and technology innovation, advanced equipment and fish feed, qualified and trained entrepreneurs, and operates within a legal framework for environment and health protection, the industry is faced with many challenges. In particular, aquaculture enterprises must have access to the space and water required for production, obtain the associated multiple authorisations, maintain as far as possible the health of fish despite an insufficiency of medicines and vaccines, have access to capital to invest and develop, withstand pressure from imports, etc.

Building the future of the European Union aquaculture industry

It is in the interests of the European Union to better promote this sector and to raise awareness on the part of public authorities and investors. Even if wild stocks of fish recover to Maximum Sustainable Yield levels, the rapidly expanding demand will also have to be met from aquaculture production.

The EU must put in place appropriate measures to ensure that the Community aquaculture industry can take a lead role in the production of aquatic food, technology and innovation, and the setting of standards and certification processes at European and international level. The aim of this Communication is to help bring about the conditions for a successful and sustainable aquaculture industry that can compete successfully in the market.

Public authorities should establish a predictable, consistent and cost-effective legislative framework. In order to be effective, the strategy should be supported by all. Its vision and objectives should be strengthened and relayed by public authorities at national and regional level.

Improving competitiveness, sustainability and governance

In order to increase competitiveness in the sector, it is essential to continue to support research and technological development, to promote spatial planning in coastal zones and take into account the needs of the aquaculture sector as regards the market for fishery and aquaculture products.

To guarantee the sustainable development of aquaculture, the EU must continue to support environment-friendly production methods, but also ensure that aquaculture has access to a high-quality environment particularly in terms of water quality. It must also guarantee animal welfare and health and continue to provide a high level of consumer protection.

It is important to enhance the image of European aquaculture and public authorities should improve aspects related to governance, especially in terms of reducing administrative charges, consulting stakeholders and informing the public.

Aquaculture’s success depends to a great extent on the existence of an environment which is favourable to enterprises in this sector. The Commission therefore proposes to provide Member States and regional authorities with guidance, to ensure that targeted measures taken at local, national and EU level help the sector to fully exploit its assets.

Concerted action at all levels to unlock the potential of the aquaculture sector should offer many advantages. In this regard, the Commission considers that a strong and revitalised aquaculture industry will also benefit related sectors, contribute to the development of rural areas and coastal zones, and could meet the demands of consumers who will have access to high-quality food which is healthy and produced using ecological methods.

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

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Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

The Regulation on the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) sets out the policy priorities and the terms of assistance for the fisheries and aquaculture sector for the period 2000-06. The FIFG is designed to help achieve the aims of the common fisheries policy by providing structural assistance. It thus strengthens the competitiveness of the operating structures and the development of economically viable enterprises.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1263/1999 of 21 June 1999 on the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Summary

The aim of the FIFG is to contribute to achieving the objectives of the common fisheries policy. It supports structural measures in fisheries, aquaculture and the processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products. In this way it promotes the restructuring of the sector by putting in place the right conditions for its development and modernisation.

Objectives

The aims of the FIFG’s structural measures are to:

  • contribute to achieving a balance between fisheries resources and their exploitation,
  • strengthen the competitiveness of operating structures and the development of economically viable enterprises in the sector;
  • improve market supply and the value added to fishery and aquaculture products;
  • contribute to revitalising areas dependent on fisheries and aquaculture.

Scope

This Regulation grants FIFG support to the following in line with the FIFG’s overall objectives:

  • fleet renewal and modernisation of fishing vessels;
  • adjustment of fishing effort;
  • joint enterprises;
  • small-scale coastal fisheries;
  • socio-economic measures;
  • protection of marine resources in coastal waters;
  • aquaculture;
  • fishing port facilities;
  • processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products;
  • seeking new outlets for such products;
  • operations by members of the trade;
  • innovative actions, in particular those of a transnational nature and involving the networking of operators and areas dependent on the sector.
  • technical assistance.

Programming

This Regulation firmly links the FIFG both to the structural policy established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds and to the common fisheries policy provided for in Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92.

The structural measures financed by the FIFG fall under different multiannual programmes according to the regional context in which they apply:

  • where regions are eligible for Structural Funds under Objective 1, the measures are included in the programming for that Objective;
  • where regions are not eligible for Objective 1, the measures are covered by single programming documents in each Member State.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1263/1999 29.06.1999 OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 2370/2002 of 20 December 2002 establishing an emergency Community measure for scrapping fishing vessels [Official Journal L 358 of 31.12.2002].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2722/2000 of 13 December 2000 establishing the conditions under which the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) may make a contribution towards the eradication of pathological risks in aquaculture [Official Journal L 314 of 14.12.2000].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector [Official Journal L 83 of 4.4.2000].
This Regulation lays down the detailed rules and arrangements for Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector. It specifies the procedure for adopting the multiannual guidance programmes for the fishing fleets (MAGPs) for the period starting on 1 January 2002.

Commission Decision 1999/500/EC of 1 July 1999 fixing an indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the financial instrument for fisheries guidance (FIFG) outside the Objective 1 regions of the Structural Funds for the period 2000 to 2006 [Official Journal L 194 of 27.07.1999]
This Decision lays down the indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the FIFG outside the Objective 1 regions for 11 Member States (excluding Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal). These appropriations total EUR 1 106 million in 2000-06 (1999 prices). The total allocations for the FIFG for the period 2000-06 total EUR 4 119 million (2005 prices).

Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92 of 20 December 1992 establishing a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture (Official Journal of the European Communities L389 of 31.12.1992)
This Regulation establishes a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture. It contributes towards achieving a balance between conservation and the management of resources, on the one hand, and fishing effort and the stable and rational exploitation of those resources, on the other.

Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards integrated maritime surveillance

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 15 October 2009 – Towards the integration of maritime surveillance: A common information sharing environment for the EU maritime domain [COM(2009) 538 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In the European Union, most data relating to maritime affairs is processed by sectoral authorities. These authorities are responsible for the surveillance and monitoring of activities at sea in the sector under their responsibility, without necessarily informing their counterparts in other sectors. This is a drawback, since the sharing of this data makes it possible to increase the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of maritime surveillance activities.

Data sharing and interoperability between maritime surveillance systems pose certain technical and legal problems, however, as well as problems from a security perspective. In this Communication, the Commission identifies these problems and puts forward solutions.

Obstacles to the integration of maritime surveillance

The main obstacles to the creation of a common information sharing environment are as follows:

  • diverse user and operator communities: most information is collected at several levels (international, EU and national) by numerous sectoral systems. In some cases the involved authorities are unaware that other authorities or systems are collecting similar information. In other cases they do not have information sharing standards or agreements;
  • diverse legal frameworks: maritime surveillance systems have been developed on the basis of sector-specific, international and EU legislation. These systems are therefore difficult to merge;
  • cross border threats: threats faced by Member States often require an improved trans-national and sometimes even trans-sectoral approach, in particular with regard to the high seas;
  • specific legal provisions: international and EU legislation which frames maritime surveillance activities on the high seas and governs the processing of personal, confidential and classified data lacks cohesion.

Solutions for the integration of maritime surveillance

The creation of a common information sharing environment is based on compliance with the following Guiding Principles:

  • optimising the exchange of information between the different user communities. The European Union should adopt rules and standards at Community level to interlink the different user communities. These communities should be able to share at national level information from international, Community, regional, military and internal systems. The common information sharing environment should be secure, and flexible enough to adapt to the needs of new users;
  • building a non-hierarchical technical framework of maritime monitoring and surveillance systems. The technical framework should facilitate the collection, dissemination, analysis and management of data. It should integrate security concerns and comply with data protection regulations, international rules and functional requirements;
  • exchanging information between civilian and military authorities. The authorities responsible for maritime surveillance should be able to share information. Common standards and procedures for access to and use of the information will be adopted to allow for a two-directional information exchange;
  • removing obstacles to the exchange of information imposed by specific legal provisions. Certain provisions of EU and national legislation may prevent the exchange of information relating to maritime monitoring and surveillance. These provisions should be identified and adapted while providing for the necessary guarantees relating to confidentiality and data security and the protection of personal data.

These four Guiding Principles will serve to trigger a reflection process at EU and Member State level which will need to encompass all user communities. They may be revised in light of the outcome of three projects aimed at evaluating the ability of users from different Member States and user communities to exchange information.

Context

This Communication follows on from a previous Communication – An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, in which the European Commission undertook to ‘take steps towards a more interoperable surveillance system to bring together existing monitoring and tracking systems used for maritime safety and security, protection of the marine environment, fisheries control, control of external borders and other law enforcement activities’.