Advisory Councils and the NFFO
Arguably, the most successful component of the 2002/3 CFP reform was the establishment of the Regional Advisory Councils, now known as Advisory Councils.
The establishment of RACs marked a recognition that one of the central reasons why the CFP had become discredited was its reliance on a top-down decisions, implemented through blanket measures. RACs were a relatively timid half- step towards decentralising decision –making in the CFP.
The RACs, with a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio of fishing industry to other stakeholders, have proven to be able to work cohesively to produce coherent, balanced and well-thought through advice to the Commission.
The 2012/13 reform takes regionalisation to the next level, with a permissive structure that will encourage member states to work cooperatively with other regional member states and the relevant AC to advance joint recommendations. All other things being equal these will be adopted by the Commission and given force of law through delegated act. This route to deliver fisheries legislation on the content of management plans, technical conservation rules and much else, is essential if the a perpetual logjam in the co-decision process (between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament) is to be avoided.
The NFFO has been energetic in pressing the regionalisation agenda as an important first step towards decentralisation of the CFP.
The NFFO is a member of the following ACs: