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Common fisheries policy

Although a common fisheries policy (CFP) was already provided for in the Treaty of Rome in 1957, "Blue Europe" did not become a common policy in the full sense of the term until 1983.

The CFP has the same legal basis (Articles 38-44 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU) as the common agricultural policy (CAP) and shares the same objectives: to increase productivity, stabilise markets and ensure security of supply and reasonable prices to the consumer. Like the CAP, the CFP is an area of responsibility that is shared by the European Union and the Member States.

Successive reforms have added the following aims to the initial goals of the CFP: sustainable exploitation of resources, protection of the environment, safeguards for a high level of human health protection and a contribution to economic and social cohesion.

In particular, protection of fish stocks and the marine environment is a key issue, given the threat posed by resource depletion.

The CFP operates on four levels:

  • conservation and sustainable management of fish stocks to protect fishery resources;
  • market organisation to match supply and demand, in the interests of producers and consumers;
  • structural policy to help the fishing and fish farming industries to adapt their plant and organisation to the constraints imposed by the market and by a shortage of resources; Community support in this area is mainly provided through the "financial instrument for fisheries guidance" (FIFG);
  • relations with non-Community countries and international organisations, i.e. negotiation of international fisheries agreements and common conservation measures for deep-sea fishing.

The European Union is today seeking to put in place a fully-fledged maritime policy encompassing the fisheries, environmental and marine industry policies.

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