Tag Archives: Quotas

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

Deep-sea fish stocks

Deep-sea fish stocks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Deep-sea fish stocks


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

Deep-sea fish stocks

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 29 January 2007 entitled: “Review of the management of deep-sea fish stocks” [COM(2007) 30 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Deep-sea fish stocks consist of species that live at depths of greater than 400 metres. These resources are particularly vulnerable to over-fishing. They are slow-growing and generally of low fecundity.

Fisheries targeting deep-water species have developed recently. These fisheries are characterised by the mixture of species and there is a lack of reliable scientific data to ensure sustainable exploitation of the deep-water resources.

Measures have been adopted, such as the limitation of fishing effort or total allowable catches. However, they are insufficient, as most deep-water species are still fished beyond tolerable biological limits.

Total allowable catches (TACs)

The regulations concerning deep-sea fisheries are relatively recent. The first TACs were introduced in 2002 for the period 2003-2004.

The TACs set were rather arbitrary on account of the lack of knowledge about the species concerned. They should have been established at much lower levels to guarantee the sustainability of the stocks. In accordance with the precautionary principle which prevails in the case of a threat to the balance of ecosystems, certain deep-sea fisheries should have been closed.

Declared catches are lower than the TACs, which shows that the latter were not sufficiently restrictive. This finding led to the Commission proposing a 30 % reduction in fishing opportunities compared to the 2003 levels. However, the Council of Ministers preferred to opt for more modest reductions of a maximum of 15 % of the existing TACs.

On account of the mixture of species in the fisheries, the lack of information on catch composition, discards and the geographical distribution of the stocks, TACs were set for only forty-eight deep-sea species, which are listed in Annexes I and II to Regulation (EC) No 2347/2002.

Despite the difficulties, it appears that the TACs have enabled a reduction in the fishing mortality of the main targeted species. Complementary measures must be adopted, such as restriction of fishing effort.

Fishing effort

One of the complementary measures consisted in reducing the fishing effort of vessels with licences by 10 % in 2005 and a further 10 % in 2006, compared to the 2003 levels. However, this capacity ceiling failed to limit the expansion of deep-sea fisheries, since certain deep-sea stocks, such as ling, tusk and argentines, are taken as by-catches.

Because they are set at far too high a level, the capacity limits of the fishing vessels do not allow restrictions in the number of vessels targeting deep-sea species. This is attributable to the calculation method applied, which is defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 2347/2002. This calculation takes account of the total capacity of all the vessels that caught at least 10 tonnes of deep-water species in any one of the years 1998, 1999 or 2000, rather than an average over that period.

This shortcoming has also meant that the reductions in fishing effort have been ineffective. The effort reductions do not in fact result in practice in a reduction of the exploitation rate of deep-water stocks. Conversely, they may unnecessarily restrict the fishing effort of some other fisheries, such as the blue whiting.

Better information is needed on the various fisheries exploiting deep-sea species so that fishing effort levels can be adjusted in each of them individually according to the target species and by-catch species. The issuing of fishing permits should take greater account of the track record of each vessel.

The Commission is not fully in the picture as far as the impact of the respective fishing gear is concerned, as some Member States have not forwarded their reports on fishing effort to it.

Scientific sampling programmes

Sampling programmes were carried out to remedy the lack of scientific information on deep-water stocks. However, the current legislation does not provide sufficient guidance on how to proceed. The sampling schemes drawn up by the Member States differ in quality and content, which makes them difficult to use. A reporting format should be drawn up to facilitate the aggregation of the data received or improve their quality.

Monitoring and control

Closed areas can be introduced for certain species, such as the orange roughy. Vessels with deep-sea fishing licences entering such areas must observe certain rules. During transit in the area in question, they must maintain an average speed of at least eight knots and all gears carried on board must be lashed and stowed.

The supervisory authorities of the Member States should make more use of the satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS). This system would enable them to warn inspectors of suspect activities in the areas concerned and to intercept the vessels on entering port. Fisheries monitoring centres should be set up in each Member State to inspect the vessels in transit or fishing in the closed areas.

Too many vessels hold a deep-sea fishing licence when their catches of deep-sea species are only marginal. This situation limits the effectiveness of deep-sea effort limitations and may lead to control problems for non-deep-sea stocks. Vessels with such licences can legitimately fish in areas where a Member State has deep-sea quotas, without necessarily targeting this type of stocks.

Member States are required to notify the Commission of the inspection and surveillance procedures they apply in the ports designated for landings of deep-sea species.


Council Regulation (EU) No 1225/2010 of 13 December 2010 fixing for 2011 and 2012 the fishing opportunities for EU vessels for fish stocks of certain deep-sea fish species [Official Journal L 336 of 21.12.2010].

Common organisation of the sugar market

Common organisation of the sugar market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common organisation of the sugar market


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

Agriculture > Markets for agricultural products

Common organisation of the sugar market

The common organisation of the market in sugar improves the competitiveness of the sector, thereby ensuring its long-term sustainability. It will remain in place until 30 September 2008.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 318/2006 of 20 February 2006 on the common organisation of the markets in the sugar sector [See amending acts].


From 1 October 2008, products falling within the scope of this Regulation will be covered by the common organisation of agricultural markets (CMO).

This Regulation introduces a substantial reform of the common organisation of the sugar market, which was previously governed by Regulation (EC) No 1260/2001.

This common organisation of the market provides for intervention on the internal market, including the fixing of reference prices and production quotas, and for certain support measures for European products when they are traded on international markets.


The common organisation of the sugar market applies to:

  • sugar beet;
  • sugar cane;
  • cane sugar, beet sugar and sugar from other origins;
  • syrup, including sugar syrup, maple syrup, inulin syrup and isoglucose syrup;
  • molasses.



The reference prices for white sugar are as follows:

  • 631.90 per tonne for the 2006/07 and 2007/08 marketing years;
  • 541.50 per tonne for the 2008/09 marketing year;
  • 404.40 per tonne from the 2009/10 marketing year onwards.

The reference prices for raw sugar are as follows:

  • 496.80 per tonne for the 2006/07 and 2007/08 marketing years;
  • 448.80 per tonne for the 2008/09 marketing year;
  • 335.20 per tonne from the 2009/10 marketing year onwards.

Price levels for the sugar market will be publicised by means of an information system via which data provided by operators in the sector are collected and processed.

The minimum price for quota beet is set at:

  • 32.86 per tonne for the 2006/07 marketing year;
  • 29.78 per tonne for the 2007/08 marketing year;
  • 27.83 per tonne for the 2008/09 marketing year;
  • 26.29 per tonne from the 2009/10 marketing year onwards.

Interprofessional agreements

Community growers and Community sugar undertakings set the terms for buying sugar beet and sugar cane by concluding agreements within the trade. Delivery contracts have to draw a distinction between beets used to manufacture quota sugar and beets used to manufacture out-of-quota sugar. Each sugar undertaking must provide the Member State in which it produces sugar with information on quantities of beet and yield. If no agreements within the trade exist, the Member State concerned will take the necessary steps to protect the interests of the parties concerned.

Quota production

National and regional production quotas for sugar, isoglucose and inulin syrup are laid down for each marketing year (for the 2007/08 marketing year, see Regulation (EC) No 247/2007). A production quota is then allocated to each sugar-producing undertaking which may, by 30 September 2007 at the latest, request an additional quota from the Member State in which it is established. In this way, the Member State decides on the quantities acceptable to it and collects a single amount of 730 for each tonne of additional quota allocated.

In each of the marketing years 2007/08 and 2008/09, a further isoglucose quota of 100 000 tonnes will be added to the quota of the preceding marketing year (this increase does not involve either Romania or Bulgaria).

Following the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 320/2006 establishing a temporary scheme for the restructuring of the sugar industry in the European Community, the Commission has reduced the existing quotas for sugar, isoglucose and inulin syrup on two occasions (by Regulations (EC) Nos 2011/2006 and 247/2007). The Member States have adjusted the quotas allocated to their undertakings accordingly.

In some circumstances (the conditions to be satisfied are laid down in Annex V to this Regulation) a Member State may reduce the sugar or isoglucose quota allocated to undertakings established on its national territory and transfer quotas between undertakings.

Out-of-quota production

The sugar, isoglucose or inulin syrup produced during a marketing year in excess of the quota may be:

  • used in the manufacture of certain products such as bioethanol, alcohol, rum or specific pharmaceutical products;
  • carried forward to the next marketing year. In such cases, the undertakings must inform the Member State and also undertake to store at their own cost the quantities carried forward;
  • used for the specific supply arrangements for the outermost regions;
  • exported, within the established quantitative limits and in compliance with the commitments resulting from international agreements;
  • subjected to a surplus-amount levy by Member States.

Market management

From the 2007/08 marketing year onwards, Member States will levy a production charge on sugar-producing undertakings. This charge is set at 12 per tonne of sugar and inulin syrup. For isoglucose, the production charge is set at 50% of the charge applicable to sugar.

The Member States must grant an approval to producers or processors of sugar, isoglucose or inulin syrup, provided they meet certain conditions, such as proving their professional capacity. These undertakings are to provide the Member State with information about provisional and actual sales of their sugar products.

Private storage aid for white sugar may be granted to undertakings which are allocated a sugar quota if the market price falls below the reference price for a representative period and if it is likely to remain at that level. Up until the 2010 marketing year, the intervention agency will buy in up to 600 000 tonnes of sugar per marketing year provided that the sugar has been produced under quota and manufactured from beet or cane harvested in the Community. In addition, it must have formed the subject of a storage contract concluded between the seller and the intervention agency. Generally speaking, the intervention agency may only sell the sugar at a price higher than the reference price set for the marketing year in question. However, in some circumstances, it may be permissible to sell the sugar at a price lower than or equal to the reference price.

A percentage of sugar, isoglucose or inulin syrup under quota may be withdrawn from the market up to the start of the following marketing year in order to maintain the structural balance of the market at a price level that is close to the reference price. The quantities of sugar in question will be stored by undertakings that have been allocated a quota. If the sugar supply in the Community is inadequate, it may be decided that a certain quantity of these products may be sold on the Community market before the end of the withdrawal period. The sugar withdrawn from the market may be treated as the first sugar production of the following marketing year – in this case, beet growers will receive the minimum price set for the marketing year in question.


Common provisions on imports and exports

As a general rule, in trade with Non-EU Member Countries, the levying of any charge having equivalent effect to a customs duty and the application of any quantitative restriction or measure having equivalent effect are prohibited.

Imports and exports of sugar products (except for the waste produced by sugar undertakings) are subject to presentation of an import or export licence. The licence is issued by the Member States and is valid throughout the European Community.

In certain circumstances, the use of inward processing arrangements for sugar products may be prohibited.

Safeguard measures may be applied in cases where trade with Non-EU Member Countries threatens to disrupt the balance on the Community market. The Commission, acting at the request of a Member State or on its own initiative, will decide on the necessary measures, which will remain in place until the threat has subsided.

Provisions applicable to imports

The rates of import duty in the Common Customs Tariff apply to sugar products. However, in order to ensure that the Community market is adequately supplied, the Commission may suspend in whole or in part for certain quantities the application of import duties on certain products.

Imports of products covered by this Regulation may be subject to an additional import duty to protect the Community market against possible adverse effects. This duty may be imposed during a year in which the Community market is likely to experience such effects or when imports are made at a price below the level notified by the Community to the WTO.

The Commission opens and manages tariff quotas for sugar products in a way that avoids any discrimination between the operators concerned. To achieve this, various methods are applied, such as processing applications in chronological order (“first come, first served”), or distributing quotas in proportion to the quantities requested in applications.

The refining sector’s traditional supply need for sugar, expressed in white sugar, is set for the Community as a whole at 2 324 735 tonnes per marketing year and is distributed among the Member States. During the 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 marketing years, this need is distributed as follows (tonnes):

  • Bulgaria: 198 748
  • France: 296 627
  • Portugal: 291 633
  • Romania: 329 636
  • Slovenia: 19 585
  • Finland: 59 925
  • United Kingdom: 1 128 581

Guaranteed prices set for sugar originating in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and India apply to imports of standard quality raw sugar and white sugar originating in certain countries (listed in Annex VI to this Regulation and in Regulation (EC) No 980/2005). These countries must certify that the products covered by the guaranteed price comply with the rules laid down in the relevant international agreements.

Measures may be taken to ensure that imports of sugar into the Community from the ACP countries and India are carried out under the conditions laid down in the Protocol to the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement and in the Agreement on cane sugar between the European Community and the Republic of India.

Provisions applicable to exports

Export refunds may be granted to cover the difference between sugar prices on the world market and sugar prices in the Community. The quantities of sugar benefiting from these refunds are set using various methods which take into account the nature of the product, the situation on the market and administrative efficiency. Export refunds may be set at regular intervals or by invitation to tender.

Export restrictions may be applied when the quotations or prices of a product reach a level which threatens to disrupt supplies on the Community market, and where this situation is likely to deteriorate.

Other provisions

Further measures may be taken if there is a significant change in prices on the Community market and if all measures laid down by this Regulation have been exhausted and the situation is likely to continue to disrupt the market.

The Management Committee for Sugar assists the Commission in dealing with administrative aspects of the common organisation of the sugar market.


The first common organisation of the sugar market was established by Council Regulation No 44/67/EEC in 1967. Since entering into force it has been reformed on several occasions, in 1974, 1981, 1999 and 2001. The reform introduced by the current Regulation in 2006 reduces the minimum guaranteed price and encourages unprofitable growers to cease farming. It also includes Council Regulations (EC) Nos 319/2006 and 320/2006, both adopted on the same day as the current Regulation, which establish the temporary restructuring fund.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 318/2006 3.3.2006 OJ L 58, 28.2.2006
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1585/2006 28.10.2006 OJ L 294, 25.10.2006
Regulation (EC) No 2011/2006 1.1.2007 OJ L 384, 29.12.2006
Regulation (EC) No 247/2007 12.3.2007 OJ L 69, 9.3.2007
Regulation (EC) No 1182/2007 6.11.2007 OJ L 273, 17.10.2007
Regulation (EC) No 1260/2007 30.10.2007 OJ L 283, 27.10.2007

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 318/2006 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version (pdf ) is intended purely as a documentation tool.

Related Acts

Detailed implementing rules

Commission Regulation (EC) No 950/2006 of 28 June 2006 laying down detailed rules of application for the 2006/2007, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 marketing years for the import and refining of sugar products under certain tariff quotas and preferential agreements [Official Journal L 178, 1.7.2006].
See consolidated version (pdf ).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 951/2006 of 30 June 2006 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 318/2006 as regards trade with Non-EU Member Countries in the sugar sector [Official Journal L 178, 1.7.2006].
See consolidated version (pdf ).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 952/2006 of 29 June 2006 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 318/2006 as regards the management of the Community market in sugar and the quota system [Official Journal L 178, 1.7.2006].
See consolidated version (pdf ).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 967/2006 of 29 June 2006 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 318/2006 as regards sugar production in excess of the quota [Official Journal L 176, 30.6.2006].
See consolidated version (pdf ).

Regulations complementing the 2006 reform of the common organisation of the sugar market

Regulation(EC) No 320/2006 [Official Journal L 58, 28.2.2006].

This Regulation establishes a temporary restructuring fund to finance restructuring and diversification measures in the sugar industry. It lays down the requirements which undertakings in this sector must satisfy in order to qualify for aid under this fund.
See consolidated version (pdf ).

Regulation(EC) No 319/2006 [Official Journal L 58, 28.2.2006].
This Regulation lays down rules for granting Community aid to sugar beet and cane growers in Member States eligible for restructuring aid under Regulation No 320/2006. It amends the rules laid down in Regulation No 1782/2003 in relation to support schemes in the sugar sector.
See consolidated version (FR ) (pdf).

International context

International Sugar Agreement 1992 [Official Journal L 379, 23.12.1992].
This Agreement lays down rules for the operation of the International Sugar Organisation, of which the European Community is one of the main members. In April 2007, the Council of the European Union agreed to vote in favour of extending this Agreement (Decision 2007/316/EC).