UK Publishes its Response on CFP Reform

8th January 2010 in Europe / Common Fisheries Policy

The UK has now published its response to the Commission’s Green Paper on CFP reform.

It can by found following the following link:

Responses had to be received by the 31st December and now the Commission will study the views of the member states, regional advisory councils, Advisory Committee, individual fishermen’s organisations, NGOs and individuals. The next step will be a Communication from the Commission in mid February, describing the main themes arising from the consultation and indicating the areas that will be subject to a formal impact assessment. This should give us a fairly clear idea of the range of possibilities for reform.

Overall, the UK paper is a clear headed, balanced document that is, at the same time, well-grounded in a solid analysis of the strengths and failings of the current CFP but also quite ambitious.

Although there are differences in emphasis and detail, there is in fact quite a high degree of overlap between Defra’s UK response and the NFFO’s submission to the Commission on CFP reform. This is perhaps not too surprising given the intense discussions between Defra ministers and officials and the NFFO on the way forward, over the last 18 months.

Both share the view that:

  • In many respects the CFP is dysfunctional and as presently structured is incapable of delivering sustainable, profitable, fisheries with reasonable levels of regulation and control costs
  • A regionalised and decentralised CFP is the key to delivering fisheries reform
  • There must a determined move away from micro-management of fisheries towards a system of delegated responsibilities within a framework of safeguards
  • Relative Stability has provided benefits for both fishermen and policy makers by providing a transparent and predictable basis for allocations. However, it makes sense to explore how relative stability could be strengthened by providing additional flexibility to adapt entitlements to changing patterns of fishing
  • Both economic theory and experience suggests that days at sea restrictions are unlikely to deliver benefits in the long term and results in an overcapitalised and inefficient industry with high monitoring and enforcement costs
  • The future focus must be on achieving the right outcomes rather than cosmetic regulation that repeatedly fails to deliver its objectives
  • We must move away from crisis management towards long term management plans

Next Steps

The Federation has been invited to participate in a high level meeting with the Commission in late January, in Brussels, to discuss the Commission’s final positions in light of the Green Paper consultation before publication of the CFP Reform Communication in February.

The immediate task ahead beyond January will be to evaluate and comment on the various options outlined in the CFP reform impact assessments.