Tag Archives: Fishing

Sectoral development policies

Sectoral development policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Sectoral development policies


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

Development > Sectoral development policies

Sectoral development policies

Within the framework of development cooperation the Union places the emphasis on a number of areas where solutions have been tailored to the needs of developing countries on the basis of the relevant comparative advantage, which involve not only economic and social development and governance but also the environment food security, agriculture and infrastructure.

This thematic, cross-sectoral approach, particularly highlighted in the “European Consensus on Development”, also aims to ensure cohesion between European policies and the development priorities which might be affected by those policies.



  • Governance in the consensus on development
  • Governance and development
  • Tax governance in developing countries

Human Rights

  • A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights in the world (2007 – 2013)

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and civil society

  • Local authorities and development assistance
  • Non-state Actors and Local Authorities
  • Cooperation with indigenous peoples


Education and training

  • Investing in people
  • Education and training in the context of poverty reduction

Equality between men and women

  • Strategy for gender equality in development policy


  • Children in EU external action


  • The EU Role in Global Health
  • Health: health and poverty reduction
  • Programme for Action to combat lack of personnel in the health sector (2007-2013)
  • Compulsory licensing system for the production and export of generic medicinal products to developing countries
  • Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (2007-2011)
  • Update on the EC Programme for Action – Accelerated action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
  • Health: programme for accelerated action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (2001-2006)
  • Essential medicines for developing countries (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria)
  • Health: global fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria


  • Global partnership for sustainable development
  • Integrating sustainable development into Community cooperation policy
  • Strategy for sustainable development



  • Environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy
  • United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

Climate change

  • Global climate change alliance
  • Climate change in the context of development cooperation


  • Biodiversity Action Plan for Economic and Development Co-operation
  • The Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity


  • Water: water management in developing countries
  • Guidelines for cooperation towards development in the area of water resources
  • European Water Facility for the ACP countries


  • The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
  • Energy cooperation with the developing countries
  • ACP-EU Energy Facility


  • FLEGT Licensing scheme
  • Fight against illegal logging
  • Combating deforestation


  • Partnership agreements with Non-EU Member Countries
  • Fisheries: fisheries and poverty reduction


  • Agricultural commodities, dependence and poverty
  • Fighting rural poverty
  • Advancing African agriculture
  • Land policy in developing countries
  • Partnership with Africa for the development of the cotton industry
  • The International Coffee Agreement 2007


  • Strategic framework for food security in developing countries
  • Facility for rapid response to soaring food prices
  • Combating hunger: strategy for food security
  • Food Aid Convention


  • Supporting developing countries in coping with the crisis


  • Scheme of preferences from 2006 to 2015 – Guidelines
  • A scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011
  • Generalised System of Preferences 2006 – 2008
  • Aid for Trade in developing countries
  • Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy
  • Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade
  • Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes
  • Fair trade


  • International investments: towards a comprehensive European policy
  • EU support for business sector development in third countries
  • The reform of state-owned enterprises in developing countries


  • Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure


  • Transport: guidelines
  • Promoting sustainable transport

Communication and information

  • Information and communication Technologies


  • Development of sustainable tourism


  • Migration and development: some concrete orientations
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries in the areas of migration and asylum


  • Mine Action Strategy 2005-2007

Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing


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

Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

To counteract this very lucrative phenomenon, this Regulation provides for the limitation of access to the European Union (EU) market to only certified fishery products that comply with the rules. Other provisions are to reinforce the surveillance of activities at sea, to identify IUU operators, to enhance the implementation of fisheries legislation and to improve the application of sanctions in the event of infringements.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999.


This Regulation establishes a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Community and international waters. The effectiveness of this system depends on the measures adopted by Member States in line with Community legislation.

Fishing vessels engaged in IUU fishing

A fishing vessel shall be presumed to be engaged in IUU fishing if it:

  • does not hold a valid fishing licence;
  • does not provide or record catch data;
  • fishes in a closed area;
  • fishes unauthorised species;
  • uses prohibited or non-compliant fishing gear;
  • falsifies or conceals its identity;
  • falsifies or conceals evidence relating to an investigation;
  • obstructs the work of inspectors;
  • takes on board, tranships or lands undersized fish;
  • participates in activities with vessels included in the IUU vessel list;
  • carries out fishing activities in an area covered by a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) without complying with the conservation and management measures of that organisation and is flagged to a State not party to that organisation, or not cooperating with that organisation;
  • is a stateless vessel.

Designated ports

Only port facilities designated by Member States of the European Union (EU) are open to vessels from third countries. Transhipments between vessels from third countries and EU vessels are prohibited at sea and shall only take place in designated ports.

Port inspections

The State in whose territory the port is located is responsible for monitoring fishery products imported into the EU. This is in order to attest that the said products are legal and that the vessel complies with the regulations, i.e. it holds the required licences and permits, and complies with fishing quotas.

Catch certificates

The catch certificate guarantees that products imported into the EU do not originate from IUU fishing. These certificates are issued by the flag State. They accompany fishery products throughout the supply chain to facilitate checks.

IUU vessel list and list of non-cooperating third countries

The Commission has established two blacklists. The first includes vessels engaged in IUU fishing and the second the list of States that are lenient towards them. In both cases, the procedures for the establishing of the lists provide for safeguards and appeal arrangements to guarantee the fair treatment of the vessels and States concerned.


Member States shall apply effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions against natural or legal persons engaged in IUU activities. A maximum sanction of at least five times the value of the fishery products obtained is provided for with regard to the committing of the said infringement. In the event of a repeated infringement within a five-year period, the Member States shall impose a maximum sanction of at least eight times the value of the fishery products obtained by committing the serious infringement.

Mutual assistance

Combating IUU fishing implies a strengthening of cooperation between the administrative authorities of Member States as well as with the administrative authorities of third countries and the Commission.

The Commission has created the IUU fishing information system to assist administrative authorities in preventing this type of activity, facilitating investigations and prosecuting offenders.


This Regulation represents (with the Communication which accompanies it) one of the first steps towards an integrated maritime policy. It is part of the Community Action Plan against IUU fishing adopted in 2002 and in line with action carried out at international level (FAO, RFMO) intended to prevent, discourage and eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.


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

Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008


OJ L 286 of 29.10.2008


Annex 1 – List of products excluded from the list of fishery products
Regulation (EC) No 1010/2009 [Official Journal L 280 of 27.10.2009];
Regulation (EU) No 86/2010 [Official Journal L 26 of 30.1.2010];
Regulation (EU) No 202/2011 [Official Journal L 57 of 2.3.2011].

Related Acts

Implementing arrangements

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1010/2009 of 22 October 2009 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing [Official Journal L 280 of 27.10.2009].

Authorisation for fishing

Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 of 29 September 2008 concerning authorisations for fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters and the access of third country vessels to Community waters, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 3317/94 [Official Journal L 286 of 29.10.2008].

Vessels engaged in combating IUU fishing

Commission Regulation (EU) No 468/2010 of 28 May 2010 establishing the EU list of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing [Official Journal L 131 of 29.5.2010].

Competent authorities for catch certificates

List of Member States and their competent authorities concerning Articles 15(2), 17(8) and 21(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008[Official Journal C 320 of 24.12.2009].

Designated ports

List of ports in EU Member States where landings and transhipment operations of fishery products are allowed and port services are accessible for third-country fishing vessels, in accordance with Article 5(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008[Official Journal C 320 of 24.12.2009].

Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation


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

Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 of 26 March 2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 on the European Fisheries Fund [See amending act(s)].


The mechanisms and implementing rules laid down in this Regulation result from the provisions concerning the basic European Fisheries Fund Regulation (EFF).

The purpose of the detailed implementing rules is to facilitate the establishment of operational programmes (Annex I) as well as their examination and the approval of these projects by the Commission. An operational programme must include geographical criteria (analysis of national or local circumstances, description of strengths and weaknesses) and a description of how the projects developed fit in with the priority axes specified in the Regulation. Operational programmes for which public expenditure does not exceed 90 million at 2004 prices are eligible for the specific arrangements provided for in the Regulation. The purpose of these detailed implementing rules is also to assist the examination and approval of these projects by the Commission.

The structural measures for fisheries seek to guide and facilitate the restructuring of the sector. This process is necessary to safeguard the future of the sector and promote sustainable fishing. In the light of this, no public aid leading to an increase in fishing effort is permitted.

Priority axes

The implementing rules are established on the basis of the priority axes of the European Fisheries Fund (See Annex I, part A):

  • measures to adapt the European Union fishing fleet. These include public aid for the permanent or temporary cessation of fishing activities. These measures also determine aid to small-scale coastal fishing and socio-economic compensation for the management of the European fishing fleet;
  • aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and on-farm retail sale of fishery and aquaculture products. The Regulation defines the scope of aid to aquaculture production. It also proposes measures for productive investments in aquaculture based on species classification, aqua-environmental measures and animal health measures. As regards inland fishing, support may be granted to vessels of less than 12 metres not using towed gear. The Regulation provides for aid for the processing of fish to extract substances harmful to human health (such as dioxins). Aid will also be prioritised to small and micro enterprises;
  • measures of common interest. These cover collective actions, in particular to create and restructure the plans of producers’ organisations, protect flora and fauna, improve services offered by fishing ports, strengthen markets and promote partnerships between scientists and professionals in the fishing sector;
  • sustainable development of fisheries areas. The European Union will support local development strategies in order to diversify and strengthen fishing areas in decline. These fishing areas do not necessarily have to coincide with a national administrative area or with zones established by the Structural Funds. The Member States select groups for the implementation of the local development strategy.


The Member States are to forward interim evaluations of these programmes by no later than 30 June 2011. The Commission may decide to interrupt the payment deadline where a Member State has not complied with its management, control and spending obligations.

Information and publicity

Member States or the managing authority must carry out information and publicity measures for the public and potential beneficiaries. In addition, the managing authority must ensure that information and publicity measures are aimed at the wider public, for example through the launch of the operational programme, presenting the programme’s achievements and by flying the European Union flag (Annex II) for a week from 9 May in front of the managing authority’s premises.

Financial engineering instruments

Financial engineering instruments must be in the form of actions such as socio-economic compensation for fleet management (see list in Annex III) which give rise to repayable investments, particularly to SMEs and micro enterprises, through venture capital funds, guarantee funds and loan funds.

The statement of expenditure (Annex IX) must, as regards financial engineering instruments, include the total expenditure paid in establishing or contributing to these instruments. At the partial or final closure of the operational programme the eligible expenditure is the total of any payments for investment in enterprises from each of the financial engineering instruments or any guarantees provided.

When the EFF finances operations comprising financial engineering instruments, including those organised through holding funds, a business plan must be submitted by the co-financing partners or shareholders or by their duly authorised representative. This plan must comply with the conditions laid down in Articles 35, 36 and 37 of this implementing Regulation.

Management, monitoring and control

The managing authority designated for the programme by the Member State (Annex XII) must ensure that beneficiaries are informed of the specific conditions concerning the products or services to be delivered under the operation, the financing plan, the time-limit for execution and the financial and other information to be kept and communicated. The checks carried out by the managing authority must cover the administrative, financial, technical and physical aspects of the operations. Each amount corresponding to an irregularity is identified by the reference number attributed to that irregularity or by another appropriate method.

Audits must be carried out on the spot (Annex V) on the basis of documentation and records held by the beneficiary. The audit authority may also carry out random statistical sampling of operations (see Annex IV).


In the event of irregularities Member States must notify the European Commission of the reasons for these. Where an irregularity could have an impact on other Member States, they must also be informed.

Electronic exchange of data

The exchange of data between each Member State and the Commission must be carried out using a computer system established by the Commission which permits the secure exchange of data between the Commission and each Member State.

The computer system for data exchange contains information on:

  • the financing plans for operational programmes (model set out in Annex I, part B);
  • declarations of expenditure and applications for payment (model set out in Annex IX);
  • the annual statement on withdrawn and recovered amounts and pending recoveries (model in Annex X);
  • annual forecasts of likely applications for payment (see Annex XIII);
  • the financial section of the annual reports and final implementation reports (model set out in Annex XIV, point 3.3).

The computer system must also contain documents and information of common interest such as the operational programme (Annex I, part A), the Commission decision concerning the contribution of the EFF, the annual and final reports on implementation (model Annex XIV), the audit strategy (Annex V) and a description of the management system (Annex XII, part A).

Member States and the Commission must take all necessary measures to guarantee the protection of personal data.


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

Regulation (EC) No 498/2007


OJ L 120, 10.5.2007

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

Regulation (EU) No 1249/2010


OJ L 341, 23.12.2010

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 have been incorporated in to the original document. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Rights-based management tools in fisheries

Rights-based management tools in fisheries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rights-based management tools in fisheries


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

Rights-based management tools in fisheries

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 26 February 2007 on rights-based management tools in fisheries [COM(2007) 73 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Globally, all management systems have introduced some form of access and/or use rights to fishery resources. This is also the case for the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which provides inter alia for the granting of national licences and quotas, the limitation of “days at sea” for certain fisheries, and various measures to limit fleet capacity. Although the basic mechanisms of the CFP for allocating fishing rights among the Member States have proved to be effective, in other respects the CFP has fallen short of its objectives, as is shown by the depleted condition of many fish stocks, and the poor economic performance of some parts of the fleet. The current main objective of the CFP therefore is to conserve resources in order to preserve the ecosystem and sustain economic activity.

The Commission considers that the wide variety of management systems currently applied in the Community lacks transparency, efficacy and in some cases overall coherence, and this merely adds to the economic difficulties faced by the fishing industry. The aim of this Communication is to examine various options for improving the efficacy of management in the fishing industry, while helping to achieve the basic objectives of the CFP. The Commission proposes launching a debate with Member States and the fishing industry which it hopes will be “pragmatic, transparent and fruitful”. The topics to be examined include an assessment and improvement of the systems in place and the sharing of best practices.

Community context

Fisheries management systems form part of the competences shared between the European Union (EU) and the Member States. Community competences relate to:

  • limiting total fleet size;
  • fixing catch and fishing effort levels;
  • adopting technical measures (restrictions on the use of certain vessels or gears) in order to better protect stocks.

National authorities are responsible for distributing and managing licences, quotas and fishing effort at national and regional levels.

All these management measures help to define and characterise the rights of access and harvest of individual fishermen. Economic value can be attached to these rights but this often occurs in a non-transparent and unpredictable way.

Rights-based management systems in fisheries

Rights-based management systems in fisheries are simply a means of helping fishermen to perform better from an economic viewpoint. Hence, there is still a need to define conservation objectives to be achieved by means of various fisheries management measures (e.g. quotas). However, formalising fishing rights can enable these objectives to be achieved in a more cost-effective manner. Consequently, economic sustainability should result in improved biological sustainability, since a well-functioning rights-based management system should lead to an increased interest on the part of fishermen and industry in the sustainability of this basic resource.

The most controversial aspect of these management systems is the transferability of fishing rights. It creates a market value for the use of resources which can be substantial and have significant repercussions on the development of the sector. The transferability of rights improves the efficacy of fishing enterprises. It also tends to intensify the concentration of quotas, licences, geographical distribution and fleet composition in the sector. It should be noted that such a concentration is also the result of the reduction in fishing possibilities. To counterbalance excessive concentration, rights-based management tools can be designed to restrict concentrations beyond a certain threshold, so as to preserve the geographical balance of fishing activities and to maintain the cultural, social and professional fabric, in particular by protecting small-scale inshore fishing activities. Nevertheless, the new measures for restricting the concentration of rights must respect Internal Market and competition rules. The Commission is obliged to ensure that the mechanisms implemented to restrict concentration and relocation comply with the rules of the Single Market and Community competition legislation.

Rights-based management systems in fisheries may also help to solve “high grading” * and discard problems which endanger resource sustainability and complicate assessment of the real level of catches. These problems existed already, independently of the rights-based management systems. The Commission has put forward a plan for eliminating discards. Similarly, increased control over fishing activities is an essential prerequisite for the ultimate success of any management system which is implemented.

Initiating a debate

Given the recognition by the CFP of the principle of “relative stability” for the allocation of fishing possibilities between Member States, which is intended to ensure “a predictable share of the stocks for each Member State”, the introduction of a Community-level rights-based management system, in which fishing rights would be freely tradable, seems unlikely. It is at national level that methods of management and transferability of fishing rights should be developed. Naturally, this will not prevent the exchange of quotas between Member States, as practised currently.

Discussions between the Commission, Member States and the fishing industry have revealed certain sensitive topics linked to the setting-up of rights-based management systems in fisheries. These include:

  • the issue of “relative stability”;
  • transferability of fishing rights, which may involve an excessive, and often irreversible, concentration of these rights;
  • initial allocation and period of validity of fishing rights;
  • possible adverse conditions for the small-scale fisheries sector when it coexists with industrial fishing enterprises;
  • “high grading” and discard problems;
  • the need for effective enforcement controls.

The Community debate, which is intended to be as broad as possible, should also cover:

  • an analysis of current national systems;
  • the improvement of their efficacy, by means of sharing best practices;
  • transnational elements such as seeking synergies between the Member State systems, or the introduction of the exchange of quotas between Member States.

These subjects should be tackled as part of a necessary and urgent debate on the future of rights-based management tools in fisheries. The Commission will contribute to this discussion by means of a series of studies and expert opinions. It plans to sum up the debate at the start of 2008, to assess the need for further action, and to draw up a report for the Council and the European Parliament, which will include, if and when appropriate, proposals or recommendations for follow-up.

Key terms used in the act
  • High grading: A practice involving the rejection of part of a catch for economic reasons, for example, when the cost of transporting the fish is higher than its market value or if the hold is reserved for the conservation or transport of species with a greater value

Reducing discards and by-catches

Reducing discards and by-catches

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reducing discards and by-catches


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

Reducing discards and by-catches

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 March 2007 on a policy to reduce unwanted by-catches and eliminate discards in European fisheries [COM (2007) 136 final – not published in the Official Journal].


By-catches * and discards * are a serious problem in European fisheries. Two main reasons for discards of marine organisms into the sea are highlighted.

The first is economic. Fish are sold at very different prices depending on their size, quality and species. There are therefore strong economic incentives to discard fish, as the storage space onboard is used for high-value organisms.

The second reason is associated with certain existing regulatory instruments in the fisheries sector. This applies to the use of minimum landing sizes and also to total allowable catches (TACs).

Extent of discards

According to the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), the level of by-catch discards is, depending on the seas, fisheries and trawls, between 20 and 60 percent of the catch weight for the period 2003-05.

Consequences of discards

By-catches and their associated discards have serious consequences such as:

  • a waste of societal resources;
  • lower future catch opportunities with catching of juvenile species;
  • immediate reduction in the spawning biomass if mature individuals are caught;
  • negative impact on the marine ecosystem and on biodiversity.

In most cases, the fish or crustaceans caught and discarded into the sea will already be dead or have very little chance of survival.

Instruments and measures

A combination of instruments and measures to be adapted to each individual fishery is needed to reduce by-catches and gradually eliminate discards. The introduction of a discard ban puts the onus on fisheries by guiding them in the right direction. The practical and economic realities of the fisheries also need to be taken into account. The instruments of this new policy consist of:

  • incentives to improve selectivity of fishing gear;
  • real-time closure of high risk locations for by-catches;
  • flexibility in the use of quotas;
  • levying charges on by-catches and expropriating them;
  • preferential access to fisheries granted on the basis of by-catch track records;
  • introduction of information systems informing fleets where the by-catch risk is lowest.

In parallel, the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations will play an essential role in the implementation of additional measures to eliminate discards. Certain measures may benefit from the potential support of the European Fisheries Fund.


Despite the obvious difficulty in enforcing the discard ban and putting an end to illegal discards, it is vital for the Commission to enforce the rules to guarantee effective implementation.

Monitoring programmes play an important role and must be part of a general system involving:

  • quantified and systematic analysis of catch and landing figures;
  • the use of electronic logbooks for real-time reporting of catch composition;
  • monitoring and control of fishing gear;
  • stakeholder involvement and cooperation.

Furthermore, landed catches that cannot be sold should be carefully monitored to prevent them bringing illicit profits for fishing vessels. Data for all fleets should be compiled and analysed so that the necessary steps can be taken in the event of infringement of the rules.

Socio-economic repercussions

Generally speaking, implementation could result in net short-term cost increases and losses of income. Other repercussions may be linked to the closure of certain fishing areas forcing vessels to go elsewhere or travel further to fish.

Nevertheless, in the longer term, various economic benefits are to be expected, associated with larger and healthier stocks.


This communication discusses the problem of discards into the sea as a priority and outlines the main measures to be implemented to reduce by-catches and eliminate discards into the sea. From 2008, regulations will be drawn up to cover all Community fisheries.

Key terms used in the act
  • By-catch: The accidental catching of non-target species or species that do not meet certain criteria for fisheries, including marine mammals, birds, turtles and other marine species.
  • Discards: The proportion of catches representing the total organic matter of animal origin that is thrown or emptied into the sea for whatever reason. Plant matter and post-harvest waste, such as offal, are not included. Discarded animals may be dead or alive.

Conservation and exploitation of marine resources

Conservation and exploitation of marine resources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conservation and exploitation of marine resources


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

Conservation and exploitation of marine resources

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy [see amending act(s)].


The Common Fisheries Policy covers the conservation, management and exploitation of marine resources, and the processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products. It provides for coherent measures concerning:

  • conservation, management and exploitation of living aquatic resources;
  • limitation of the environmental impact of fishing;
  • conditions of access to waters and resources;
  • fleet capacity;
  • control;
  • aquaculture;
  • common organisation of the markets;
  • international relations.

Conservation and sustainability

The European Union (EU) takes the necessary measures to govern access to fishing zones and resources and the sustainable pursuit of fishing activities. These measures apply to each stock of fish or to groups of stocks. They aim to limit fishing mortality and the environmental impact of fishing activities by:

  • adopting recovery plans for stocks outside safe biological limits;
  • adopting management plans to maintain stocks within safe biological limits;
  • setting objectives for sustainable exploitation of stocks;
  • limiting catches;
  • setting the number and type of vessels authorised to fish;
  • limiting fishing effort;
  • adopting technical measures to promote more selective fishing or fishing which has a smaller impact on marine eco-systems and non target species fishing. These measures may also relate to the structure of fishing gear, the number and size of fishing gear on board, the introduction of zones and/or periods in which fishing activities are prohibited or restricted.

The European Commission and the Member States may take emergency measures in the event of a serious threat to the conservation of resources or to the ecosystem for periods of up to six or three months. The Member States’ decisions may apply only to waters falling under their sovereignty. They may also take non-discriminatory conservation measures, within the 12-mile limit, to preserve the ecosystem. Where these measures affect the vessels of other Member States, the Commission, the national governments and the Regional Advisory Councils concerned must be consulted. Member States may adopt other conservation and management measures for vessels flying their flag provided that they are compatible with the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Adjustment of fishing capacity

Member States have an obligation to adjust their fishing capacity in order to balance fishing capacity with fishing opportunities. Given the critical situation of many stocks in European waters, the total capacity of the Community fleet has been ‘frozen’ since 31 December 2002. Therefore a new fishing vessel cannot join the fleet unless another of the same capacity (measured in tonnage (GT)) and engine power (kW) has left it. From 1 January 2003, the only increases in tonnage possible without an associated exit from the fleet are alterations to vessels intended to improve on-board health and safety.

The necessary reductions in capacity are part of the management and recovery plans. Any withdrawal of a vessel that benefits from a public grant (from the Member State and/or the Community) is definitive and the vessel withdrawn may therefore not be replaced. Every year, the Commission sends a summary of the results of the Member States’ efforts to achieve a sustainable balance between fishing capacity and opportunities to the European Parliament and the Council, based on annual reports from the Member States. It also maintains a Community fishing fleet register including all details of the characteristics and activities of the vessels necessary for monitoring the proper implementation of the CFP.

Access to waters and resources

Community fishing vessels all enjoy equal access to waters and resources except in the 12-mile zone, which falls within the sovereignty of the Member States (Annex I). Special rules apply in the Shetland Box (Annex II). Total allowable catches (TAC) are set annually by the Council and fishing opportunities are distributed among Member States taking care to ensure that fishing activities for each stock or fishery remain relatively stable for each State. Member States are then free to allocate these opportunities to their vessels and may exchange those allocated to them. The Council also decides on the fishing opportunities available to third countries with access to Community waters.

Control and enforcement

A European fisheries control system is established to ensure compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) with throughout the production chain, from the boat to the retailer. Controls are still carried out at sea, but are also reinforced in the ports, during transport, in the processing plants, on the markets, etc., in order to ensure that fish are caught legally.

The control system applies to all fishing activities in Community waters, and to the fishing activities of Community vessels and vessels of EU nationals, both in Community and non-Community waters. It also applies to the processing and marketing of fishery products and leisure fishing affecting sensitive stocks and aquaculture.

Decision-making and consultation

Decisions concerning fisheries are taken by the European Parliament and the Council on a proposal from the Commission after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. In some cases, a decision will be taken with the consent of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture in accordance with the procedure established by Decision 1999/468/EC laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission.

The Commission is assisted by the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA) created in 1971. ACFA is a forum for permanent dialogue with the industry. Its 21 members represent the main branches of the fisheries and aquaculture industry (production, processing and trade), as well as consumer groups and organisations which deal with environmental protection and development. ACFA is made up of four working groups responsible for preparing opinions:

  • Group 1: Access to fisheries resources and management of fishing activity;
  • Group 2: Aquaculture: fish, shellfish and molluscs;
  • Group 3: Markets and trade policy;
  • Group 4: General questions: economics and sectoral analysis.

Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) are established in order to increase the involvement of the fishing industry and other groups affected by the CFP, such as environmental protection and consumer groups. They cover sea areas falling within the jurisdiction of at least two Member States. Scientists also participate in the work of the Regional Advisory Councils. They may be consulted by the Commission, for example on the implementation and preparation of management and recovery plans. They will also, on their own initiative, present recommendations where necessary and inform the Commission and the Member States about problems associated with implementing the CFP.

The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), made up of highly qualified scientists, is to be regularly consulted on matters relating to the conservation and management of living aquatic resources. The Commission will take account of advice from the STECF when formulating proposals on fisheries management.

A report on conservation and sustainability and the adjustment of fishing capacity will be delivered by the Commission to Parliament and the Council before the end of 2012.


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

Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002


L 358 of 31.12.2002


Derogations concerning the management of fishing fleets registered in the Community outermost regions:
Regulation (EC) No 639/2004 [Official Journal L 102 of 07.04.2004].
Amended by:
Regulation (EC) No 1646/2006 [Official Journal L 309 of 09.11.2006];
Regulation (EC) No 1207/2008 [Official Journal L 327 of 5.12.2008].
Given the importance of the fisheries sector in the outermost regions of the Community, this Regulation takes account of the specific structural, social and economic situation regarding the management of the fishing fleet in these regions.

Derogations granted to the new Member States from certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 relating to reference levels of fishing fleets:
Regulation (EC) No 1242/2004 [Official Journal L 236 of 7.7.2004];
Regulation (EC) No 783/2007 [Official Journal L 175 of 5.7.2007].
These Regulations provide for derogations for the new Member States regarding reference levels and aid grants for fleet renewal.

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

Regulation (EC) No 865/2007


OJ L 192 of 24.7.2007

Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009


OJ L 343 of 22.12.2009

Regulation (EC) No 1152/2012


OJ L 343 of 14.12.2012

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 have been incorporated into the original text.

Related Acts

Fishing opportunities

Council Regulation (EU) No 40/2013 of 21 January 2013 fixing for 2013 the fishing opportunities available in EU waters and, to EU vessels, in certain non-EU waters for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks which are subject to international negotiations or agreements [Official Journal L 23 of 25.1.2013].

Council Regulation (EU) No 39/2013 of 21 January 2013 fixing for 2013 the fishing opportunities available to EU vessels for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks which are not subject to international negotiations or agreements [Official Journal L 23 of 25.1.2013].

Council Regulation (EU) No 1262/2012 of 20 December 2012 fixing for 2013 and 2014 the fishing opportunities for EU vessels for certain deep-sea fish stocks [Official Journal L 356 of 22.12.2012].

The fleet

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1013/2010 of 10 November 2010 laying down implementing rules on the Union Fleet Policy as defined in Chapter III of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 [Official Journal L 293 of 11.11.2010].

This Regulation applies to all Community vessels except those used exclusively in aquaculture and those registered in the French, Spanish and Portuguese outermost regions. It sets out the formulae which determine the reference levels in gross tonnage (GT) and power for each Member State at 1 January 2003. It also sets out the eligibility conditions for an increase in tonnage. Each Member State shall collect information related to the implementation of the CFP and on withdrawals (or replacements) of vessels in the European Union’s fleet. Any modernisation of a vessel resulting in a change to its fishing capacity must also be notified.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 26/2004 of 30 December 2003 on the Community fishing fleet register [Official Journal L 5 of 9.1.2004].
This Regulation determines the minimum information on ships flying the flag of a Member State which must be shown in the national register kept by that State. It also lays down the obligations of Member States concerning the collection, validation and transmission of those data to the Commission, as well as the latter’s obligations regarding the management of the Community fishing fleet register. Vessels are identified by means of a unique CFR (Community Fleet Register) number which is permanently assigned to a vessel and cannot be reassigned to another one.
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Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU

Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU


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

Employment and social policy > Social protection

Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and Committee of the Regions of 10 October 2007, entitled Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU (first phase consultation of the social partners at Community level provided for in Article 138(2) of the Treaty) [COM(2007) 591 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The maritime sector is currently developing in a highly globalised context, and there is an already extensive body of international conventions and standards applicable to it.

The European Union (EU) strongly supports efforts and initiatives aimed at strengthening international rules, such as the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on maritime labour (2006) and on work in fishing (2007).

The Commission is seeking to promote ratification (authorised by Council Decision 2007/431/EC) and enforcement of these international standards with a view to completing EU internal and external policies.

European social legislation

EU social regulations make provision for a number of exclusions or derogations affecting workers in maritime professions. Four situations exist, namely:

  • non-exclusion (lack of specific provisions in general instruments);
  • specific legislation or general instruments containing specific provisions;
  • the possibility for Member States to introduce exclusions in their national legislation when transposing general directives. This situation concerns Directives 2002/74/EC, 94/45/EC and 2002/14/EC;
  • exclusion from the scope of application. This is the case of Directives 98/59/EC, 2001/23/EC and 96/71/EC.

As regards the latter two categories, the Commission is calling for a more detailed analysis, and concludes that certain exclusions might not be totally justified insofar as they make no contribution to the application of specific solutions that are better adapted to the workers’ concrete situation. Where sufficiently strong reasons exist to maintain the existing exclusions or derogations, consideration should be given to whether specific EU legislation for the sector would be a better solution. Such a solution should guarantee to seafaring professions the same level of protection as that enjoyed by other workers under the general directive. In that case, the particular legal conditions applying in the Member States need to be examined in order to make sure that the seagoing professions enjoy adequate levels of protection. Such an examination is relevant particularly in the case of conditional exclusions, which oblige Member States to establish more specific regulations or alternative guarantees, ensuring the same level of protection.

Health and Safety

Generally speaking, in EU legislation, those in the seafaring professions enjoy the same levels of protection in terms of health and safety as workers in other sectors. Furthermore, directives specific to the sector supplement the general directives, such as the directive concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for work on board fishing vessels. This latter directive applies only to fishing vessels with a length between perpendiculars of 15 m or over. Therefore, the Commission is promoting the development of non-restrictive tools (good practices) aimed at improving practical implementation of existing Community legislation on the protection of health and safety of fishermen on board small fishing vessels.

Free movement of workers and coordination of social security

According to case-law, the provisions of the EC Treaty on the free movement of workers are also applicable to maritime transport. On the one hand, as regards coordination of social security schemes, Community legislation provides that workers and members of their families do not lose their social security protection when moving within the Community. This also applies to third-country workers legally resident in the EU and in a situation that is not confined in all respects within a single Member State.

Role of social dialogue

The social partners have regularly addressed issues relating to the improvement of onboard safety and welfare and are promoting the adoption of a strong European position. They are currently involved in negotiations with a view to reaching a European agreement transposing relevant provisions of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention. A similar approach could be envisaged as far as promoting application of the recent ILO Work in Fishing Convention is concerned.

Within the context of the current consultation process, the Commission invites the social partners in the maritime sector to state their position regarding the issues raised in the Communication.


The Commission has called for a comprehensive maritime policy as part of its strategic objectives for 2005-2009. Current consultations are taking place as an extension of the 2006 Green Paper on future maritime policy. This raised the issue of the exclusion of the maritime sector from certain parts of European social and labour legislation.