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The Community’s Common Fisheries Policy was established to ensure that the exploitation of living aquatic resources in Community waters and by Community fisheries is carried out at sustainable levels. However, since its inception in 1970, the CFP has pursued conflicting objectives.
On one hand, it has tried to manage fisheries by establishing and implementing a complex system of conservation, control and enforcement measures. On the other hand, it has heavily subsidised its fisheries sector to secure food supplies, increase employment and the sector’s competitiveness as well as to further economic development in coastal regions.
Given that many fish stocks exploited by Community fisheries are overfished and catches continue to decline, it could be argued that Community management and promotion measures have generally failed. Conservation measures, such as total allowable catches, effort restrictions, and technical measures often encourage fishing at unsustainable levels; and control and enforcement measures have lacked effectiveness.
Subsidies, on the other hand, have, in many cases, increased fishing and processing capacities of the Community’s fisheries industry. High capacity in the sector, however, demands high catch rates, putting pressure on marine capture resources. It has only been recently that the CFP has really begun to adjust its support practices to correspond to the situational and legal management requirements. Nevertheless, such subsidisation continues even under the new European Fisheries Fund.
It is the purpose of this book to: (a) explain and make accessible the CFP’s complex management and promotional regimes; (b) identify problems and failures in both systems; (c) assess whether CFP measures are coherent as well as consistent with higher ranking law, (d) find out how consistency between promotion and management can be increased.