Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common organisation of the market in fishery products


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

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Since the 1970s, the CMO of fishery products contributed towards reducing the effects of variations in demand and supply in the interests of fishermen, processing companies and consumers.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 of 17 December 1999 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products [See amending act(s)].


The common organisation of the markets (CMO) in fishery products * was created in 1970. It was the first component of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

Marketing standards

Fishery products may be sold or marketed only if they meet marketing standards covering classification by quality, size or weight categories, packaging, presentation and labelling. Member States must check that products comply with the marketing standards.

Consumer information

Live, fresh or chilled products may be sold to the final consumer only if they are appropriately marked or labelled with:

  • the commercial name of the species;
  • the method of production (fresh water, sea or farmed);
  • the catch area.

Formation and recognition of producer organisations

Producer organisations (PO) are set up by fishermen or fish farmers who voluntarily form an association with the aim of implementing measures to ensure optimum conditions for the marketing of their products. Those measures should seek to:

  • give priority to planning production and bringing it into line with demand, in particular by implementing catch plans;
  • promote concentration of supply;
  • stabilise prices;
  • promote methods that encourage sustainable fishing.

Member States will recognise groups as POs if they apply for recognition and meet certain requirements.

They may also grant specific recognition to POs if they have put forward a plan to improve product quality.

Extension of rules laid down by producer organisations

Where a PO is representative of production and marketing in one or more landing places, the Member State may make various measures introduced by that PO compulsory for non-members marketing products in the same area.

Planning of production and marketing

Each producer organisation must draw up an operational programme for the fishing year and send it to the relevant authorities in the Member State. The programme must include:

  • a marketing strategy for bringing the volume and quality of supply into line with market requirements;
  • a catch plan or production plan depending on the species;
  • anticipatory measures for adjusting the supply of species that are difficult to market;
  • the penalties to be imposed on members who fail to comply with the decisions taken.

Financial support

Member States may grant POs compensation for a period of five years to enable them to fulfil their obligations with regard to the planning of production and marketing. The way the grant is calculated varies depending on the species.

Member States may also grant additional aid to POs for the introduction of measures aimed at improving organisation and marketing of fish and achieving a better balance between supply and demand. This aid is granted under Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund.

Interbranch organisations (IOs)

Subject to checks by the Commission, Member States may recognise groups as interbranch organisations if they apply for recognition and are made up of representatives of production, trade and processing.

Recognition is subject to certain conditions, the most important of which are linked to the measures that may be implemented by IOs (for example, improving market knowledge and market transparency, etc.).

Extension of arrangements to non-members

Where an IO is representative of the production of and/or trade in and/or processing of a given product, a Member State may, at the request of the organisation, make some of the arrangements binding for a limited period on other operators in the region who do not belong to the organisation.

The arrangements for which extension may be requested must meet certain conditions and relate to one of the following areas: information about production and the market, stricter production rules than those laid down by Community and national legislation, drawing up standard contracts that are compatible with Community legislation, and marketing rules.

Prices and intervention

To ensure the supply of the market in fishery products, the Community has set up a system designed to:

  • alleviate the most negative effects of the imbalance between supply and demand;
  • stabilise prices in order to guarantee fishermen a minimum level of income;
  • promote the general competitiveness of the Community fishing fleet on world markets.

It is based on a system of prices, which, when applied, triggers financial intervention mechanisms.

Those mechanisms are determined on the basis of the guide price set by the Council for certain products before the start of the fishing year. The guide price is based on the average of the prices recorded on the wholesale markets or in ports during the previous three fishing years and takes account of predicted trends in production and demand.

In order to guarantee fishermen a minimum level of income, POs may withdraw fishery products from the market if prices fall below a given level. This level, called the Community withdrawal price, is set by the Commission each year for each type of product marketed. It is calculated in relation to the guide price, not exceeding 90 % of that price, and on the basis of the freshness, size and presentation of the product. When prices fall and the intervention mechanisms are triggered, members receive compensation from the PO to which they belong.

Community withdrawals

For POs to be granted financial compensation for fish permanently withdrawn from the market, certain conditions must be met:

  • the withdrawal price applied by the POs must be the same as the Community withdrawal price, with a tolerance margin of 10 % above or below that price;
  • the products withdrawn must comply with the marketing standards and be of adequate quality;
  • the withdrawal price must apply throughout the fishing year for each category of products concerned.

It is for the POs to determine how to dispose of the products withdrawn from the market in a way that does not interfere with normal marketing of the products concerned. Withdrawn products can be used for charitable purposes, for manufacturing animal feed or for other purposes apart from human consumption.


For products subject to withdrawal, the decision may be taken to process and store them for later human consumption if they are particularly suitable for disposing of in this way. These products must be processed under strict conditions in order to guarantee their quality so that they can be placed on the market again at a later stage in accordance with the criteria set for each species.

Carry-over aid may not exceed the technical and financial costs of processing and storage, calculated as a flat rate. The authorised processing methods are freezing, salting, drying, marinating, boiling and pasteurisation, where appropriate accompanied by filleting, cutting-up or heading. The minimum storage period is 5 days.

Independent withdrawals and carry-over by producer organisations

Certain fishery products that account for a significant proportion of the income of regional or local producers cannot be included in the Community withdrawal price system because there are considerable variations in market prices across Member States or regions and because the overall level of production of those products on the Community market is too low.

The autonomous withdrawals and carry-over mechanism compensates for this by granting flat?rate aid to POs withdrawing those products from the market, either permanently or provisionally, provided that certain conditions are met. The prices to be applied are set autonomously by the POs. There are ceilings on the quantities eligible for flat-rate aid (10 % of the quantities put up for sale during a fishing year) and autonomous withdrawal (5 %).

Private storage

Private storage aid applies to certain products that have been frozen on board the vessel and cannot be marketed at the Community selling price set by the Community before the start of each fishing year. These products are temporarily withdrawn from the market and stored for a minimum of 5 days. The conditions of storage and return to the market must be such that quality standards can be maintained and guaranteed.

Aid may be granted up to a maximum of 15 % of the annual quantities of the products concerned put up for sale by a PO. The level of aid is set on a flat-rate basis before the start of each fishing year on the basis of the technical and financial costs of the facilities required for storing frozen products.

Special arrangements for tuna (bonito, etc.)

Tuna fishing provides supplies primarily for the canning industry, which is why the market organisation arrangements focus on this form of marketing.

The Council sets a Community producer price for the different species of tuna on the basis of the average of the prices recorded on the wholesale markets or in ports during the previous three fishing years.

If the average price for tuna on the Community market and the import price are both below 87 % of the Community producer price, POs may be granted a compensatory allowance of an amount set by the Commission.

Trade with non-EU countries

To ensure adequate supply to the Community processing industry, customs duties for certain products (Alaska pollack, cod, hoki, surimi, etc.) can be totally or partially suspended for an indefinite period.

Reference price

In order to prevent market disturbances as a result of supplies from non-EU countries at abnormally low prices, certain products may be imported into the Community customs territory only if the reference price set each year by the Commission is complied with.

Safeguard measures

Where, as a result of exceptional circumstances, the Community market is threatened with or affected by serious disturbances and a price collapse, safeguard measures may be applied in trade with non-EU countries until the situation returns to normal.

Emergency measures

Where price increases and supply problems are recorded on the Community market for one or more products, the Council will take the necessary action to remedy the situation.

Equal access to facilities

Member States must ensure equal conditions of access to all ports, installations and other facilities for vessels flying any of their flags.

Checks, surveillance and implementation

The Member States and the Commission must put in place systems for communicating and exchanging information, the cost of which will be partly borne by the Community budget.

In order to prevent and curb fraud, Member States must conduct regular checks on, for example, beneficiaries of financial assistance.

The Commission is assisted by the Management Committee for Fishery Products, which is made up of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a Commission representative.

Key terms used in the act
  • Fishery products: products caught at sea or in inland waters and the products of aquaculture. These include live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or smoked fish, fish in brine and crustaceans, molluscs, meal, powders, etc.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 104/2000


for Article 4, containing the rules on consumer information)

OJ L 17, 21.1.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded – Annexe II: List referred to in Article 20 of the Act of Accession – 7. Fisheries


OJ L 236, 23.9.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1759/2006


OJ L 335, 1.12.2006

Regulation (EC) No 1258/2010


OJ L 343, 29.10.2010


Price system

of 11 February 2011 fixing the amount of the carry-over aid and the flat-rate aid for certain fishery products for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 124/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the amount of private storage aid for certain fishery products in the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 123/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the Union selling prices for the fishery products listed in Annex II to Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 122/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the Union withdrawal and selling prices for the fishery products listed in Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 121/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the standard values to be used in calculating the financial compensation and the advance pertaining thereto in respect of fishery products withdrawn from the market during the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 120/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the reference prices for certain fishery products for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Producer organisations

List of the producer organisations recognised in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

List of the producer organisations in the fishery and aquaculture sector from which recognition has been withdrawn in 2010.

Applying the legislation

Report on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 [COM(2006) 558 final – not published in the Official Journal].

This report notes that the implementation of catch plans by POs has brought about a considerable reduction in the levels of intervention, while interventions also involved a shift towards carry-over operations and away from wasteful withdrawals of fishery products. However, the introduction of IOs has not been such a success, probably because there is not enough cooperation between the various operators in the marketing chain. It was also noted that the European market is changing. Market prices are not keeping pace with production costs, which makes it more difficult to guarantee producers a decent standard of living. The market is becoming increasingly dependent on imports from non-EU countries in order to meet the needs of consumers and the processing industry.

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