Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

The EU Common Fisheries Policy regulates all aspects of fishing within the EU, from the sea to the consumer. The overall objective of the CFP is to ensure economically, environmentally and socially sustainable use of fisheries resources.

The CFP is a complex policy consisting of many rules, principles and concepts, e.g. community waters, third country fishing and licenses, access to waters, relative stability, community vessel, fishing license, fishing permit, fishing effort 'days at sea', vessels capacity 'GT', kW etc. The principle "relative stability" is one of the oldest elements of the CFP and is used for sharing quotas (%) between the EU member states. Relative stability is a 'permanent' share decided usually according to the historic catch records of EU member states. The CFP limits the freedom of EU member states to introduce national fisheries regulations in their legislation.

The CFP was formally established in 1983 and has been revised three times, in years 1992, 2002 and 2013. The latest reform was adopted in December 2013 and the new CFP has been applied throughout European Union waters as of 1 January 2014. The 2013 reformed policy aims to promote environmentally, economically as well as socially sustainable fishing, including measures to e.g. end overfishing and reduce fish discards. The core principles and objectives that the CFP is based on are set out in the Basic Regulation of the CFP (Council Regulation No 1380/2013), adopted in December 2013.

The HELCOM 2013 Ministerial Declaration welcomes the introduction, as from 2015, of the discard ban under the EU Common Fisheries Policy and supports regionally appropriate solutions to solving the discard problem such as through improved selectivity and fishing behavior and incentives to facilitate a smooth transition to applying the ban.