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Sustainable Fisheries

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is a set of rules aiming to ensure that fishing and aquaculture are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and that they provide a source of healthy food for EU citizens. Its goal is to foster a dynamic fishing industry and ensure a fair standard of living for fishing communities.
The CFP was first introduced in the 1970s and went through successive updates, the most recent CFP is stipulated in REGULATION (EU) No 1380/2013 which took effect on 1°January°2014.

The European Maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) regulates the funding for the EU's maritime and fisheries policies for 2014-2020. The EMFF is one of the five European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds which complement each other and seek to prioritize a growth and job based recovery in Europe (see also the Common Provisions Regulation).

For more background information regarding the CFP reform please consult the DG Mare website.


Fishing rules

Fish stocks have high natural productivity, but it is not unlimited. If more fish are caught than the natural surplus of the stock, the production potential for the future is reduced. The EU has a system of fishing rules in place to make sure fish stocks are shared fairly and are not depleted in the long run.


Fisheries controls

To enforce common-fisheries-policy rules, there is a control system, designed to:

  • ensure that only the allowed quantities of fish are caught
  • collect the necessary data for managing fishing opportunities
  • clarify the roles of EU countries and the Commission
  • ensure the rules are applied to all fishers in the same way, with harmonised sanctions across the EU
  • ensure that fisheries products can be traced back and checked throughout the supply chain, from net to plate.

The system is laid down in the Control Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 which entered into force on 1 January 2010 and which thoroughly modernised the EU's approach to fisheries control. In particular, it brought the system into line with the strong measures which the EU had adopted in 2008 to combat illegal fishing.
Implementing rules have been laid down for establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy.


Aquaculture and "Blue Growth"

In the communication on "Blue growth" the Commission describes a long-term strategy to support growth in the maritime sector as a whole. It aims to:

  • Identify and tackle challenges (economic, environmental and social) affecting all sectors of maritime economy;
  • Highlight synergies between sectoral policies;
  • Study interactions between the different activities and their potential impact on the marine environment and biodiversity;
  • Identify activities with high growth potential in the long term, amongst them aquaculture.

For further information see also DG MARE website


Aquaculture strategies

In 2009, the Commission published a communication to give new impetus to the sustainable development of European aquaculture after having lined out in 2002 a strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture (COM(2002) 511 final).

Also the look outside the EU may provide interesting views on strategies: The strategy for an environmentally sustainable Norwegian aquaculture industry was published 2010 by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries.

On a global level, FAO published 2009 a Strategy for Fisheries, Aquaculture in the light of Climate Change.


Eco-labelling in aquaculture


Environmental aspects of aquaculture

  • Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 established a framework for Community actions in the field of water policy (Water Framework Directive - WFD). In the meantime, the directive was several times amended.
  • Similar to the water framework directive, Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 established a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive -MSFD).
  • Recommendation 2002/413/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2002 sets the common principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe.
  • In a communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (COM(2011) 244 final) an EU biodiversity strategy until 2020 was formulated.
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 of 11 June 2007 deals with alien and locally absent species in aquaculture.


Data collection and statistics

Council Regulation (EC) No 199/2008 of 25 February 2008 concerns the establishment of a Community framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding he Common Fisheries Policy (Data Collection Framework Regulation - DCF).


Spatial information

For ore information on Marine Knowledge and Marine Spatial Planning you may consult the DG MARE website.


Food safety, traceability and consumer information

  • Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 represents a horizontal legislation on the traceability to be applied to the production chain, from live animals to retail market, including farmed fishery products intended for human consumption.
  • Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 lays down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.
  • Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 provides that certain fishery products may be offered for retail sale only on condition that a number of requirements regarding consumer information are met.
  • Regulation (EC) No 2065/2001 specified these requirements.


Animal Health