Volume 46 (2009) / Issue 2
This article is concerned with the problems arising from the exploitation of, and extraction from, marine fisheries under the Common Fisheries Policy. The EC Treaty does not contain provisions dedicated to fisheries which, instead, are subsumed under the Agricultural Title. As a result, the CFP has relied on secondary legislation (such as the Fisheries Regulation) for its elaboration, its terms subject to rights and principles set out in primary legislation. This situation will remain unchanged as a result of the Lisbon Treaty. The objectives of the CFP of conservation, sustainability and economic exploitation are wide–ranging, diverse and not necessarily compatible. The values underpinning the CFP are sustainable exploitation, the precautionary approach, and the principle of relative stability, which have determined the operation of the fisheries policy and have been instrumental in the sector’s decline. Whilst the CFP is subject to the broader values of the Union (including the precautionary principle, and sustainable development), these have had the effect of putting fisheries under even greater pressure. The Commission’s response has been to try different management models, and, currently, it is seeking to move from rights–based to an eco–system based scheme. It is argued that the CFP is incoherent and incapable of meeting its objectives, lacking an integrated maritime policy, and that the situation cannot be rectified until the values underpinning the policy are revised.
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