The Common Fisheries Policy is one of the oldest policies entirely delegated to the European Community since it is part of the Common agricultural policy. Indeed, in the Treaty of Rome, agricultural products are defined as the products of the soil, of stock-farming and of fisheries (Art. 32 TEC). As a result, the fisheries policy has to follow the same objectives as the CAP, i.e. to increase productivity, to ensure a fair standard of living, to stabilise markets, to assure the availability of supplies and to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices (Art. 33 TEC). However, if these objectives could be reached in agriculture through the creation of a common organisation of markets, in fisheries this would not have been enough. This is due to a certain specificity of the sector: it is based on common and mobile resources. It is obvious that certain species overlap territorial seas' limits and this biological fact explains why a supranational management of fisheries was needed, different from agriculture, and not only regulating a market but also the conditions of production . It is only in 1983 that a complete Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is launched and immediately some controversies appeared.
[...] They all complained though that they were asked to give an opinion on the fishing opportunities for 2007 before any proposal of the European Commission. They also regretted that this schedule problem prevents the EC to take account of social-economic factors in its proposal, since it can only be based on scientific advice. The outcome, however, must have been welcomed by the majority of RAC's members. The question now is to know how it is possible to have such a blatant denial of scientific expertise, especially when environmental matters are shown as one of the main priorities of the CFP. [...]
[...] (eds.) (2005) Policy-making in the European Union, Oxford University Press, fifth edition WWF-UK, Driftnet ban, available at: http://www.wwf.org.uk/anniversary/index2.asp (October 2007) Legislation Council Regulation (EEC) No. 100/76 of 19 January 1976 on the common organization of the market in fishery products Council Regulation (EEC) No. 170/83 establishing a Community system for the conservation and management of fishery resources Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3094/86 of 7 October 1986 providing for certain fishery resources conservation technical measures Case C-216/87 The Queen v Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, ex parte Jaderow  Case C-246/89 Commission of the European Communities v United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland  UN Resolution A/RES/46/215, Large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing and its impact on the living marine resources of the world's oceans and seas Council Regulation No. [...]
[...] Thus the European Commission serves here as a neutral institution in charge of controlling the commitment of member states and permits them to be sure that the decisions will be followed by all (end of a “beggar your neighbour” philosophy). The fact that the pro-environmental fixing of quotas and TACs by the Commission is modified by the member states proves that the EC does not have an influential role in the policymaking. The dominance of member states' social, political and economic interests in this specific decision making, the lack of Parliament involvement, the subdued role of environmental representatives convinced many of the failure of the system to preserve the fisheries resources. [...]
[...] In fact the British government had a leading role in this regulation, since they hold the European presidency in 1997-1998 and put the drift-net ban as a priority on the European agenda. This can be explained by the fact that Tony Blair was newly and comfortably elected and could a possible tension with national fishermen. Also, because of the sudden awareness of the situation thanks to ENGOs' active campaigns, the new Labour government wanted to carry a greener image and this could be made possible through the European presidency. [...]
[...] Then, because of its right of initiative, the DG Fisheries and Maritime affairs (DG Fish) of the European Commission must prepare a proposal heeding the scientific advice and with the above principles (mainly relative stability) in mind. When an EC proposal is adopted, it goes to the Council of Ministers but also to the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA). This Committee, existing since 1971, represents the fisheries industry and is consulted on policy proposals. The negotiations within the Fisheries Council mark the end of the technical dimension of policymaking and this can be seen in the outcome. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee