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Great need for reform in EU fisheries policy

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In an analysis of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries and the Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries come to the conclusion that the goals set by the CFP are only partially achieved. There is still a great need for reform in the next reform of the CFP in 2023.

(© Thünen-Institut/M. Welling)

In an analysis of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries and the Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries come to the conclusion that the goals set by the CFP are only partially achieved. There is still a great need for reform in the next reform of the CFP in 2023.

For the study, 17 criteria on ecological, economic and social aspects of the fisheries policy and on the efficiency of decision-making processes were established and evaluated. The study was published in the internationally renowned journal "Fish and Fisheries" (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 Fish. 2019;20:97–109. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12325).

For none of the indicators it is possible that both the status quo and the trend could be evaluated positively. Neutral status combined with positive trends indicate approaches to achieving economically sustainable fisheries, stakeholder engagement and the implementation of the precautionary approach. Negative status combined with positive trend position the authors in the ecosystem approach and in the coherence of management measures. The majority of indicators have been rated as neutral both in the status quo and in the trend (e.g. environmental sustainability, management transparency or distributional effects). The authors are particularly critical towards the complexity of the rules in force.

Due to the continuing need for reform, the Thünen Institute will continue to work on this topic of improving the EU's fisheries policy over the next few years. The focus will be on the implementation of the landing obligation, the regionalization of management decisions and the protection of habitats and non-target species.

If you have questions regarding this article or the topic in general, feel free to contact Dr. Ralf Döring.