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The Law and Policy Behind the Upcoming Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

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The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is one of the longest standing, most integrated, and at the same time one of the most criticised of the European Union’s policies. Despite continued efforts to improve the CFP, its failure to manage stocks at economically and environmentally sustainable levels continues to threaten the functioning and legitimacy of EU fisheries legislation. All branches of the CFP have recently been or are currently put under revision. In particular, in July 2011, the European Commission issued a reform package consisting of a proposal for new basic regulation, a reformed market organisation, and a discussion of perspectives on the EU’s external fisheries policies. This article uses the central failings of the CFP as reference points for inquiring into the potential of the reform proposals to improve EU fisheries governance. Pertinent political and legal aspects of the CFP are explained, analysed, and aligned with steps necessary to achieve sustainable fisheries management.

Affiliations: 1: Research Centre for European Environmental Law (FEU), Bremen International Graduate School for Marine Sciences (GLOMAR), University of Bremen – ; 2: German Advisory Council on the Environment, Berlin –


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