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Governance analysis of the Common Fisheries Policy

Involved Institutes SF Institute of Sea Fisheries


Governance analysis of the Common Fisheries Policy

How is fishing regulated in European waters? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the EU’s fisheries policy? How could a different fisheries policy look like? These questions are addressed by the project.

Background and Objective

The 2013 reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) introduced several changes. These included in particular the introduction of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as management objective, increased regionalisation and the landing obligation.

Nonetheless, the CFP remains a “work in progress” both regarding its objectives and the institutions and policy instruments required to achieve these objectives. The Governance Analysis Project aims to develop recommendations to fuel the ongoing transformation process of the CFP with a focus on the North and Baltic Seas.


In a first step, the CFP governance system will be examined regarding its objectives, institutions, and processes. The starting point of the analysis is the development of an analytical framework consisting of criteria for a ‘good’ fisheries policy; it is evaluated how well the CFP has currently performed against these criteria. In a second step, the preferences of CFP stakeholders for an alternative CFP governance system will be identified. Based on the two previous steps, proposals for a revised and more coherent CFP governance system will be prepared. Two proposals will be made: a) ambitious CFP governance and b) pragmatic CFP governance (proposal whose realisation is more realistic under the current actor and institutional constellations). In describing the two approaches we will further deal with the question how these findings can be fed into the decision making process.

Our Research Questions

The project deals with three main questions:

  1. CFP governance system: Which institutions, policy instruments, and processes are required to achieve the Common Fisheries Policy objectives?
  2. Principles and objectives of fisheries policy: What are societal preferences for EU fisheries policy?
  3. Proposals for the future CFP: How should a revised and more coherent CFP governance system look like?
  1. 0

    Link JS, Dickey-Collas M, Rudd MA, McLaughlin R, Macdonald NM, Thiele T, Ferretti J, Johannesen E, Rae M (2019) Clarifying mandates for marine ecosystem-based management. ICES J Mar Sci 76(1):41–44, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsy169

  2. 1

    Belschner T, Ferretti J, Strehlow HV, Kraak SBM, Döring R, Kraus G, Kempf A, Zimmermann C (2019) Evaluating fisheries systems: A comprehensive analytical framework and its application to the EU’s common fisheries policy. Fish Fisheries 20(1):97-109, DOI:10.1111/faf.12325

  3. 2

    Rudd MA, Dickey-Collas M, Ferretti J, Johannesen E, Macdonald NM, McLaughlin R, Rae M, Thiele T, Link JS (2018) Ocean ecosystem-based management mandates and implementation in the North Atlantic. Front Mar Sci 5:485, DOI:10.3389/fmars.2018.00485

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