Common Fisheries Policy Reform | WWF

Common Fisheries Policy Reform

Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has allowed overfishing and waste to continue. Europe’s fish stocks and fishing sector are in crisis
Two thirds of assessed fish stocks are overfished. Iconic species like the Mediterranean bluefin tuna and Atlantic cod have been overexploited for decades. 9 out of 10 stocks will be at unsustainable levels by 2022 if nothing happens.

The last reform of CFP, which from beginning to end lasted three years, was the perfect opportunity to turn the tide on overfishing. However despite Trojan efforts to reach a deal on this issue by rapporteur MEP Ulrike Rodust and her parliamentary negotiating team, the Irish Presidency, representing a divided Council, led by Member States with large fishing industries, preferred to defend a business as usual approach that might delay stock recoveries.

The new fisheries agreement includes some positive elements but fails to end overfishing over the next generations. Governments must act to turn the new political deal into a legal framework that helps reverse the current frenzied grab for threatened fish, the overcapacity of fishing fleets and a complex, unworkable regime whereby the industry is forced into non-compliance.

Fisheries management is a policy area where practical solutions are available and achievable, with the right political will. This is both true for EU vessels operating inside EU waters and for the 2,000 or so vessels that make up the EU’s external fleet."


Samantha Burgess
Head, European Marine Policy
+32 2 743 88 00


	© Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF
MSY or Maximum Sustainable Yield is the largest yield or catch that can be taken from a fish stock each year without deteriorating the productivity of the stock.

TACs or Total Allowable Catches are negotiated each year by the EU fisheries ministers and determine quota for the amount of fish that can be landed.

Discards are fish thrown back into the sea, mostly dying or dead, because they are undersize, undesirable for the market or because fishermen don’t have quota for them.

EBFM or Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management is an approach that assesses and limits the impact of fishing on marine species and the environment.

RBM or Rights Based Management is a tool that allocates the privilege to fish to an individual or group.