Common Fisheries Policy

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries policy of the European Union (EU). It sets quotas for which member states are allowed to catch each type of fish, as well as encouraging the fishing industry by various market interventions. In 2004 it had a budget of €931 million, approximately 0.75% of the EU budget.

When it came into force, the Treaty of Lisbon formally enshrined fisheries conservation policy as one of the handful of "exclusive competences" reserved for the European Union, to be decided by Qualified Majority Voting.[1] However, general fisheries policy remains a "shared competence" of the Union and its member states.[2] Thus decisions are still made primarily by the Council of the European Union, as was the case previously.

The common fisheries policy was created to manage fish stock for the European Union as a whole. Article 38 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which created the European Communities (now European Union), stated that there should be a common policy for fisheries.

European Union Exclusive Economic Zones
The EU's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). At 25 million square kilometres, it is the largest in the world.[3]

Importance of fishing

Fishing is a relatively unimportant economic activity within the EU. It contributes generally less than 1% to gross national product. In 2007 the fisheries sector employed 141,110 fishermen.[4] In 2007, 6.4 million tonnes of fish were caught by EU countries.[5] The EU fleet has 97,000 vessels of varying sizes. Fish farming produced a further 1 million tonnes of fish and shellfish and employed another 85,000 people. The shortfall between fish catches and demand varies, but there is an EU trade deficit in processed fish products of €3 billion.

Fisheryexpenditure2004

The combined EU fishing fleets land about 6 million tonnes of fish per year,[5] of which about 700,000 tonnes are from UK waters.[6] The UK's share of the overall EU fishing catch in 2014 was 752,000 tonnes, the second largest catch of any country in the EU.[7] This proportion is determined by the London Fisheries Convention of 1964 and by the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.

In Fraserburgh, Scotland, the fishing industry creates 40% of employment and a similar figure in Peterhead. They are the EU's largest fishing ports and home to the pelagic vessel fleet. It is often in areas where other employment opportunities are limited. For this reason, community funds have been made available to fishing as a means of encouraging regional development.

The market for fish and fish products has changed in recent years. Supermarkets are now the main buyers of fish and expect steady supplies. Fresh fish sales have fallen, but demand for processed fish and prepared meals has grown. Despite this, employment in fish processing has been falling, with 60% of fish consumed in the EU coming from elsewhere. This is partly due to improvements in the ability to transport fresh fish internationally. Competitiveness of the EU fishing industry has been affected by overcapacity and shortages of fish to catch.

Aquaculture

Fish farming is the fastest growing area of world food production. In 1995 it produced ​13 in value of world production of fish and shellfish. The main species in the EU are trout, salmon, mussels and oysters, but interest has been shown in sea bass, sea bream and turbot. Community support began in 1971 for inland fish farming, but was extended to other areas in the late 1970s. EU support covers similar areas to other land installations, but with additional concerns of technical and environmental problems caused by introducing major fish concentrations where farms are built. The industry suffers problems due to fluctuating demand for farmed fish.

Mechanisms of the CFP

The CFP currently has four components:

  • Regulation of production, quality, grading, packaging and labelling
  • Encouraging producer organisations intended to protect fishermen from sudden market changes
  • Setting minimum fish prices and financing buying up of unsold fish
  • Set rules for trade with non-EU countries

Total allowable catch (TAC)

The CFP sets quotas for how much of each species can be caught in a certain ICES Statistical Area or groups of areas on a yearly or two-yearly basis. Each country is given a quota based upon the total available (Total Allowable Catch, TAC) and their traditional share (percentage). TACs are fixed annually by the Council of Ministers. They consider proposals drawn up by the European Commission, which consults its own scientific advisers (Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries, STECF). STECF generally provides its advice to the European Commission taking account of the work conducted by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The Council of Ministers furthermore (when relevant) takes account of the views of non-EU fishing nations and the advice coming directly from ICES, which is independent of EU institutions. After quotas are fixed by the Council of Ministers, each EU member state is responsible for policing its own quota. Countries distribute their quotas among fishermen using different systems.

Fishing controls

The Basic Regulation sets the common principles for the EU management, under which each Member State can use different management approaches as licences, limited entry or individual fishing quota. Catches and landings must be recorded. Regulations cover the kind of fishing gear that may be used. Areas may be closed from fishing to allow stocks to recover.

A minimum size for catch led to fishermen dumping dead fish that were too small to land legally, so a minimum mesh size was introduced, which let small fish escape to replenish stocks. Choice of mesh is complicated, because mature fish of different species are naturally different sizes and require different nets.

Structural policy and onshore fishing industry

In 1977 an aid programme was introduced to improve the fish processing industries. This includes such things as fish filleting, salting, drying, smoking, cooking, freezing and canning. It was intended to indirectly assist the catching industry. There has been an attempt to introduce new technologies to the sector, improve hygiene conditions, and also fund conversions of fish processing factories to other uses.

Each country is given a target for the size of its fleet. Funding is available to assist modernisation of boats and installations, but also to buy-out fishermen to reduce the fleet size. Money is available for advertising campaigns to encourage consumption of fish species that are not over-fished, or are unfamiliar to the public. Also, grants are available to assist the industry in improving product quality and managing quotas.

Producer organisations

Fishing Trawler
The EU's fishing fleet numbers 88,000 – the second largest in the world – and can fish freely across the European Union, catching nearly six million metric tonnes a year[8][9]

There are now more than 160 producer organisations (PO) in the EU. These are voluntary organisations set up by fishermen or fish farmers to assist in selling their product. Their members must include a minimum percentage of vessels in that sector, not discriminate in terms of nationality or location of their members within the EU, and must comply with other EU regulations. Organisations are required to develop plans to adjust fish catches to market demand. They may require non-members fishing in the same areas to follow the same restrictions as members.

They are empowered to take produce out of the market if prices fall below levels set by the Council of Ministers and receive compensation from the EU. Levels of compensation are set such that price falls as the amount of fish involved increases. Fish stocks may be stored and later returned to the market, or sold for animal feed. Buying-up of stocks must only be to cover occasional surpluses.

Tuna fishermen have a scheme where surplus stock is not bought up, but fishermen receive direct compensation if their income falls.

International relations

Fishing rights to fisheries outside the EU were significantly reduced when exclusive economic zones were defined in 1982. The EU has negotiated agreements to recover some of these fishing grounds in return for alternative trading rights with the EU. External trade is now affected by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), regulated by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Areas of co-operation

Responsibility for fisheries in the Baltic sea was shared with the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBFC), to which the EU belonged until 1 January 2006. The Commission ceased to exist on 1 January 2007. [10]

Most Mediterranean fishing is confined to a 12-mile (22-km) strip considered territorial waters. The EU belongs to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, which also makes recommendations for Mediterranean tuna. In 1994 conservation regulations were introduced banning certain fishing methods. In 1997 targets were set for tuna catches.

Compliance

Enforcement is the responsibility of member states, but there is a community level inspection service to ensure that member states enforce the rules within their own country. Member states are also under an obligation to ensure that their vessels observe EU agreements when operating outside the EU. The regulations are also intended to harmonise penalties for breaking the regulations in different countries.

Enforcement involves managing quotas and implementing technical measures to preserve fish stocks. Inspectors may check fishing gear and inspect the register of fish caught. The type of fish caught is checked and compared to quotas of total permitted catch for a vessel. Checks may be made in port or at sea, and using aerial photography.

Inspectors may also check fish processing factories to ensure that all fish is documented and can be traced to its source. EU inspectors check that hygiene and processing regulations in any country exporting to the EU are satisfactory and of an equal standard to controls within the EU.

Non-compliance remains a significant problem. In a number of EU fisheries, illegal fishing accounts for one-third to one-half of all catches.

Funding provision

Fishing was initially funded under the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). In 1993 a separate fund was established (FIFG), the Financial Instrument for Fisheries. From 1994 to 1999 the budget for FIFG totalled 700 million ECU. Any grant from FIFG must be accompanied by a minimum contribution from the national government. A grant to business must include a proportionate contribution from the business itself. Different rates of aid are applied to different regions.

From 2007 to 2013, the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) will provide approximately 4.3 billion Euro to the European fishing sector. The adoption of the EFF was not uncontested, in particular by environmental groups, as it includes the possibility to fund vessel modernisation and other measures, which might increase pressure on already overfished stocks.

Fishing and the environment

In 1997 North Sea states and EU representatives agreed a joint approach to identifying risks to the marine environment. A precautionary approach was adopted to seek to prevent pollution before damage was caused to the environment. Studies are being undertaken to monitor stocks of all fish, not just commercially important species.

Criticism

The Common Fisheries Policy has been argued by certain commentators to have had disastrous consequences for the environment.[11][12] This view is contradicted by historical evidence revealing that fishing stocks have been in chronic decline over the last century as a result of intensive trawl fishing.[13] According to scientific research published in 2010, the depletion of fishing stocks is a consequence of mismanagement long before the Common Fisheries Policy came into being, a statement illustrated by the fact that British catches have declined by 94% over the last 118 years.[14] Nonetheless, the Common Fisheries Policy has continued the trend of ineffective fisheries management in European waters. Indeed, the Common Fisheries Policy has done little if anything to reverse the decline of European fish stocks.[15]

The common fisheries policy has been criticised by some fishermen who believe it is threatening their livelihoods.[13]

EU quotas can mean that fish are thrown overboard after being caught; yet as they are dead, this does not alleviate the problem as it was intended to.[16]

The Common Fisheries Policy has been a major reason for countries with both substantial fish resources and small home markets, like Norway,[17] Iceland,[18][19][20] and Danish dependencies (Greenland and the Faroe Islands[21]) and some other dependencies, to stay outside the European Union.

Management

Subsidiarity

A common criticism of the CFP is its centralised, top-down approach to management; although Member States are responsible for the policy's implementation and enforcement, members have given the European Commission sole competence in the creation of proposals and the making of decisions. The Commission is not exclusively responsible for the setting of total allowable catches. These are proposed by the commission but ultimately determined by the Council of [Fisheries] Ministers. Allocation of national catch quotas to Member States is on a pre-determined basis—the so-called relative stability—giving each member state pre-determined percentages of the available fishing opportunities. Although Member States hold some responsibilities, such as the distribution of quotas, it is argued that the EU retains too much authority over fisheries management. Furthermore, critics maintain that the organisation is ill-suited to the task of fisheries management as it lacks sufficient understanding of fisheries, and is too far removed from the realities of the industry to set accurate TACs and quotas.[22] The command-and-control method characterised by the CFP is no longer deemed an effective form of fisheries management, and advocates of CFP reform consider a shift from traditional government to participatory third-order governance, incorporating the fisheries industry and Member States, to be vital to the success of the policy.[23]

Consequently, it is suggested that the management of the CFP could be improved through the application of the theory of subsidiarity—the principle that political decisions should be handled at the lowest, least-centralised competent level.[24] The subsidiarity principle was introduced into EU policies as part of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty; however, it does not apply to areas such as the CFP over which the Community retains exclusive competence.[25] A partial devolution of authority, for example involving Member States in the decision-making process and delegating the day-to-day management of fisheries to industry-based organisations, could potentially facilitate the inclusion of industry concerns into the CFP, involving those directly affected by the policy in management decisions and creating to a CFP which encourages compliance and collaboration.[26]

The call for application of the subsidiarity principle to the CFP lies within the argument for its decentralisation. De-centralisation featured prominently in discussions related to the 2002 CFP reform, but the reform itself actually increased centralisation within the CFP, removing the right of Member States to block quota proposals and increasing the EU's role in enforcement. This increasing monopoly and disregard for the wishes of the fisheries industry led to alienation of stakeholders and resulted in reduced compliance.[27] The failure of this increasingly centralised reform has proved to de-centralisation advocates that stakeholder participation in the governance process is crucial to the future success of fisheries governance.[28]

However, some critics argue that applying the subsidiarity principle to the CFP may not improve the policy's effectiveness, as it may lead to what de Vivero et al. term the "participation paradox"—the theory that the greater the number of actors involved in the decision-making process, the less significant the contribution made by each actor, and the smaller the participatory role played in the policy process. Greater devolution within CFP decision-making may therefore silence the voice of the fisheries industry as it competes with other state, private and civil actors to whom authority is also granted.[29] Thus, although the subsidiarity principle can facilitate the government-to-governance transition advocated by many in relation to reform of the CFP, the participatory role of key stakeholders affected by the policy must be maximised to ensure the development of an effective and equitable Common Fisheries Policy.

History

1970

The first rules were created in 1970. The original six Common Market members realised that four countries applying to join the Common Market at that time (Britain, Ireland, Denmark including Greenland, and Norway) would control the richest fishing grounds in the world. The original six therefore drew up Council Regulation 2141/70 giving all Members equal access to all fishing waters, even though the Treaty of Rome did not explicitly include fisheries in its agriculture chapter. This was adopted on the morning of 30 June 1970, a few hours before the applications to join were officially received. This ensured that the regulations became part of the acquis communautaire before the new members joined, obliging them to accept the regulation. In its accession negotiations, the UK at first refused to accept the rules but by the end of 1971 the UK gave way and signed the Accession Treaty on 22 January 1972, thereby bringing into the CFP joint management an estimated four fifths of all the fish off Western Europe. Norway decided not to join. Greenland left the EC in 1985, after having gained partial independence from Denmark in 1979.

When the fisheries policy was originally set up the intention was to create a free trade area in fish and fish products with common rules. It was agreed that fishermen from any state should have access to all waters, except Irish fishermen that were refused access to fish any waters east of 4 deg west, thus closing the north sea to them. An exception was made for the coastal strip, which was reserved for local fishermen who had traditionally fished those areas. A policy was created to assist modernisation of fishing vessels and on-shore installations.

1976

In 1976 the EC extended its fishing waters from 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles (22.2 km to 370.4 km) from the coast, in line with other international changes. This required additional controls and the CFP as such was created in 1983. This now had four areas of activity: conservation of stocks, vessels and installations, market controls, and external agreements with other nations.

1992

It was determined that there had been over-investment in vessels, over-fishing and that numbers of fish landed were decreasing. The review identified a need to improve compliance with the regulations. This led to a tightening of regulations and better monitoring of individual vessels. A second review was planned for 2002.

1995

Although fishing could be managed by reducing the fleet size, available fish vary from year to year too much to make this sensible. So a permit system was introduced stating where and when boats are allowed to fish. Scientific studies were commissioned to better-determine available stocks and guide allocation of permits.

2009

In 2009, the EU Commission launched a wide-ranging debate[30] on the way that EU fisheries are managed. It received input from EU citizens, organisations and EU-countries and published a report on the consultation.

In 2009, Iceland applied for European Union membership. The Common Fisheries Policy was not acceptable to Iceland, but the country hoped to negotiate a better deal. However, following a change in government Iceland withdrew their application.

2013

In February 2013 the European Parliament voted for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, including measures to protect endangered stocks, and the ending of discards. The new CFP came into effect from 1 January 2014, though more talks with EU governments are involved. In presenting the reform package, the German Social Democrat MEP Ulrike Rodust stated: "As of 2015 the principle of maximum sustainable yield shall apply ... Our objective is that depleted fish stocks recover by 2020. Not only nature will benefit, but also fishermen: bigger stocks produce higher yields."[31] The 2013 reform led to a greater role for the European Parliament, involving the convening of a trilateral dialogue (or "trilogue") between the European Council, European Commission and the Parliament, to work towards general agreement on reforming the CFP.[32]

See also

References

  1. ^ Article 3 (d) of the Consolidated Treaty on the functioning of the European Union
  2. ^ Article 4 (d) of the Consolidated Treaty on the functioning of the European Union
  3. ^ EU Glossary Archived 9 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine at europa.eu
  4. ^ Employment in the fisheries sector (2007)
  5. ^ a b Main world producers (2007)
  6. ^ Daniel Boffey (15 February 2017). "UK fishermen may not win waters back after Brexit, EU memo reveals". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 3 July 2017. Source: House of Lords, NAFC Marine Centre, University of the Highlands and Islands.
  7. ^ Milne, Claire (21 June 2017). "Is the EU 'pinching our fish'?". fullfact.org/. Full Fact. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  8. ^ About the Common Fisheries Policy
  9. ^ About the Common Fisheries Policy Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ European Commission – Fisheries – The International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC) Archived 12 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Booker, Christopher (25 November 2007). "Fishing quotas are an ecological catastrophe". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  12. ^ "The human cost of the EU's fishing failure". The Daily Telegraph. London. 23 April 2009.
  13. ^ a b Black, Richard (4 May 2010). "'Profound' decline in fish stocks shown in British records". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  14. ^ Thurstan, Ruth H.; Brockington, Simon; Roberts, Callum M. (4 May 2010). "The effects of 118 years of industrial fishing on UK bottom trawl fisheries". Nature Communications. 1 (2): 15. doi:10.1038/ncomms1013. PMID 20975682.
  15. ^ Khalilian, Setareh; Froese, Rainer; Proelss, Alexander; Requate, Till (November 2010). "Designed for failure: a critique of the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union". Marine Policy. 34 (6): 1178–1182. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2010.04.001.
  16. ^ Gray, Louise (1 September 2009). "EU fisheries minister calls for an end to dumping millions of dead fish". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  17. ^ "Why isn't Norway in the EU?". Euronews. 29 March 2013.
  18. ^ Ingebritsen, Christine (1998). The Nordic States and European Unity. Cornell University Press.
  19. ^ Thorhallsson, Baldur (2004). Iceland and European Integration: On the Edge. Routledge.
  20. ^ Bergmann, Eirikur (2017-01-01). "Iceland: Ever-Lasting Independence Struggle". Nordic Nationalism and Right-Wing Populist Politics. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 93–124. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-56703-1_4. ISBN 9781137567024.
  21. ^ "Fish keep Faroe Islands at a distance from EU". euobserver.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  22. ^ Sissenwine, M.; Symes, D. (2007). "Reflections on the Common Fisheries Policy". EU Commissioned Report.
  23. ^ Sellke, P.; Dreyer, M. (2011). "Enhancing Regionalisation of the Common Fisheries Policy: An Opportunity and Challenge for Participatory Fisheries Governance in the EU". Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition". Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  24. ^ Jordan, Andrew; Jeppersen, Tim (March–April 2000). "EU Environmental policy: adapting to the principle of subsidiarity?". Environmental Policy and Governance. 10 (2): 64–74. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0976(200003/04)10:2<64::AID-EET219>3.0.CO;2-Z.
  25. ^ Coffey, C. (2000). "Good Governance and the Common Fisheries Policy: An Environmental Perspective" (PDF). Institute for European Environmental Policy Report. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  26. ^ Symes, David; Phillipson, Jeremy (March 2011). "Whatever became of social objectives in fisheries policy?". Marine Policy. 95 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2008.08.001.
  27. ^ Gray, Tim; Hatchard, Jenny (November 2003). "The 2002 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy's system of governance—rhetoric or reality?". Marine Policy. 27 (6): 545–554. doi:10.1016/S0308-597X(03)00066-6.
  28. ^ Hatchard, J. T. Gray, ed. Participation in Fisheries Governance. Netherlands: Springer.
  29. ^ Suárez de Vivero, Juan L.; Rodríguez Mateos, Juan C.; del Corral, D. Florido (May 2008). "The paradox of public participation in fisheries governance. The rising number of actors and the devolution process". Marine Policy. 32 (3): 319–325. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2007.06.005. hdl:11441/26241.
  30. ^ "Common Fisheries Policy Reform".
  31. ^ BBC News: Euro MPs back large-scale fishing reform to save stocks
  32. ^ EU Common Fisheries Policy and Fisheries Partnership Agreements – Challenges for ACP countries. Agritrade.

Further reading

External links

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) is one of the configurations of the Council of the European Union and is composed of the agriculture and fisheries ministers of the 28 European Union member states. Its competencies include the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), among others.

Costing the Earth

Costing the Earth is a programme on BBC Radio 4 about the environment. According to the programme´s website, it looks at man's effect on the environment and how the environment reacts, questioning accepted truths, challenging those in charge and reporting on progress towards improving the world.

The programme reports on all matters relating to the environment. The most recent series has covered topics as diverse as the impact of having a baby on the environment and Germany's energy revolution. Notably the series worked with BBC2's Newsnight programme and the BBC World Channel's Our World to produce a special report on Africa's Energy Revolution.

A variety of topics gets discussed on the programme, some of which may be on little discussed issues - for example, the programme broadcast on 5 February 2013 discussed the use of robots in farming. The programme has also addressed more widely discussed topics, such as the Common Fisheries Policy, which the programme referred to on

Saint George's Day 2013. The programme was broadcast from Norwich on 30 April 2013, when it discussed the problem of amphibians

facing extinction, mentioning that four out of ten amphibians across the world are endangered species.

The programme is produced by the Radio 4 team based in Bristol.

David Porter (British politician)

David John Porter (born 16 April 1948) was Conservative Member of Parliament for Waveney from 1987 to 1997.

Before going into Parliament he was Head of Drama at Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft. After the 1997 election, he gave some support to efforts supporting the British film industry. After his defeat, he returned to teaching, this time at Kirkley High School Lowestoft (now East Point Academy) where he became Head of Performing Arts. After he left teaching in 2011, he continued working as a senior examiner in performing arts and English and writer of exam and teaching materials.

In December 2015 he self-published a novel, 'Old Men's Dreams'. In early 2018 he self-published a collection of short stories, 'Wild Beasts and Plague' to join his novel on Amazon. He also published his autobiography, 'A Rebel's Journey', for private circulation only. All his publications are under his 'Walk in My Shoes' imprint.

During his time in Parliament, some said that he never managed to completely step out of the shadow of his predecessor, the Conservative Minister from Lowestoft, Jim Prior.Porter had an in-depth knowledge of the fishing industry and sea defences and was considered by opponents to be a near single-issue politician and a rebel, while frequently focusing on local issues, including rural affairs, housing, education, health, social security and consumer affairs and citizenship, for example.

On two occasions he was threatened with suspension, but was never actually suspended from the Conservative whip. He rebelled against the Government on the Maastricht Treaty and several fishing motions that he regarded as damaging to Lowestoft. The European Common Fisheries Policy he argued resulted in unfair national allocations of fish stocks and the discard policy of throwing dead fish back into the sea was preposterous, damaging the fishing industry in the longer term. Although some in the Conservative Party tried to select a different candidate after his selection in 1985, at the time the local Conservative Associations had total power of selection and retained Porter. He regularly campaigned for Britain to leave the European Common Fisheries Policy, preferring a system of local control with a yearly 'Sabbath' (ban of fishing) rotating through each sea area around the United Kingdom waters.

He served on Social Security, Employment and Education Select Committees during his decade in the Commons.

Although he always remained popular locally, he lost his seat in the 1997 Labour landslide to Bob Blizzard, a local councillor who in turn lost the seat back to the Conservatives in 2010, when Peter Aldous became MP.

Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries or DG MARE is a Directorate-General of the European Commission, responsible for the policy area of fisheries, the Law of the Sea and Maritime Affairs of the European Union.

Elspeth Attwooll

Elspeth Attwooll (born 1 February 1943 in Chislehurst which was formerly in Kent and now is in the London Borough of Bromley) is a retired Scottish Liberal Democrat politician. She is a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland.

She has stood as a parliamentary candidate for Glasgow Maryhill in every general election from October 1974 to 1997. She was part of the Liberal Democrat delegation to the Scottish Constitutional Convention.

She was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, the first Liberal Democrat ever to be elected to the European Parliament from Scotland, and retained her seat in 2004. She stood down as MEP at the 2009 European Parliamentary elections, after ten years in Brussels and Strasbourg. While an MEP, she served on the Fisheries and Regional Development Committees, being elected a vice-chair of the former.

Her work in the European Parliament was highly respected, and she drafted many influential reports, including one on Community action in relation to whaling which stressed the need for the European Union to use its influence to secure the International Whaling Commission and agreement between the pro- and anti- whaling lobbies within it. She was and is a passionate advocate of radical decentralisation of the Common Fisheries Policy.

She was succeeded as Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland by George Lyon, farmer and former MSP for Argyll and Bute.

Previously, Elspeth Attwooll taught jurisprudence and legal theory at the School of Law of the University of Glasgow, where she was a senior lecturer.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

The Commissioner for Maritime affairs and Fisheries is a member of the European Commission. The current Commissioner is Karmenu Vella.

The portfolio includes policies such as the Common Fisheries Policy, which is largely a competence of the European Union rather than the members. The Union has 66,000 km of coastline and the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering 25 million km². They also participate in meetings of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (Agrifish) configuration of the Council of the European Union.

European Economic Area

The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the EEA Agreement, an international agreement which allows for the extension of the EU's single market to non-EU member parties. The EEA links the European Union member states and three EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) into an internal market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable free movement of labour, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market, including the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area. The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of the EEA Agreement. The contracting parties are the European Union (EU), its member states, and the member states of the European Free Trade Association.However, the EEA Treaty is a commercial treaty and differs from the EU Treaties in certain key respects. The EFTA members do not participate in the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fisheries Policy. According to Article 1 its purpose is to "promote a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relation." Unlike the EU Treaties, there is no mention of "ever closer union".

The right to free movement of persons between EEA member states and the relevant provisions on safeguard measures are identical to those applying between members of the European Union. The right and rules applicable in all EEA member states, including those which are not members of the EU, are specified in Directive 2004/38/EC and in the Agreement on the European Economic Area. The EEA Agreement specifies that membership is open to member states of either the European Union or European Free Trade Association (EFTA). EFTA states which are party to the EEA Agreement participate in the EU's internal market without being members of the EU or the European Union Customs Union. They adopt most EU legislation concerning the single market, with notable exclusions including laws regarding the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy. The EEA's "decision-shaping" processes enable EEA EFTA member states to influence and contribute to new EEA policy and legislation from an early stage. Third country goods are excluded for these states on rules of origin.

When entering into force in 1994, the EEA parties were 17 states and two European Communities: the European Community, which was later absorbed into the EU's wider framework, and the now defunct European Coal and Steel Community. Membership has grown to 31 states as of 2016: 28 EU member states, as well as three of the four member states of the EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The Agreement is applied provisionally with respect to Croatia—the remaining and most recent EU member state—pending ratification of its accession by all EEA parties. One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA, but has a series of bilateral agreements with the EU which allow it also to participate in the internal market.

European Fisheries Control Agency

The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) is the agency of the European Union (EU) that co-ordinates the national operational activities in the area of fisheries, and assists the member states in their application of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The agency is based in Vigo, Spain.

European Parliament Committee on Fisheries

The Committee on Fisheries (PECH) is a committee of the European Parliament.

Alain Cadec is the Chairman (2014-2019).

Faroe Islands and the European Union

The Faroe Islands, a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, is not part of the EU, as explicitly asserted by both Rome treaties.The relations of the Faroe Islands with the EU are governed by a Fisheries Agreement (1977) and a Free Trade Agreement (1991, revised 1998). The main reason for remaining outside the EU is disagreements about the Common Fisheries Policy.

Fisheries Convention

The Fisheries Convention or the London Fisheries Convention is an international agreement signed in London in relation to fishing rights across the coastal waters of Western Europe, in particular the fishing rights in the North Sea, in the Skagerrak, in the Kattegat and on the European Atlantic coast. It gives right of full access to the fishing grounds between 6 and 12 nautical miles of the national coastline to the fishing industry of those contracting parties that had already been fishing there in the period 1953–1962.

This agreement is largely superseded to the Common Fisheries Policy (the CFP), as all parties are members of the European Union.

Fishery Limits Act 1976

The Fishery Limits Act 1976 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (1977 c. 86) in order to implement the extension of fishing waters under the European Community's Common Fisheries Policy into British law.

The Act extended the fishing limits from 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) to 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) and was in force with the members of the EEC and nine other countries. Iceland, with whom the United Kingdom had clashed over fishing rights in the so-called "Cod War", was not included due to separate negotiations with the EEC.

Fishing industry in Scotland

The fishing industry in Scotland comprises a significant proportion of the United Kingdom fishing industry. A recent inquiry by the Royal Society of Edinburgh found fishing to be of much greater social, economic and cultural importance to Scotland than it is relative to the rest of the UK. Scotland has just 8.4% of the UK population but lands at its ports over 60% of the total catch in the UK.Many of these are ports in relatively remote communities such as Fraserburgh, Kinlochbervie or Lerwick, which are scattered along an extensive coastline and which, for centuries, have looked to fishing as the main source of employment. Restrictions imposed under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) affect all European fishing fleets, but they have proved particularly severe in recent years for the demersal or whitefish sector (boats mainly fishing for cod, haddock and whiting) of the Scottish fishing industry.

Greenland–European Union relations

Greenland, an autonomous constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark (which also includes the countries of Denmark and Faroe Islands) is one of the EU countries’ overseas countries and territories (OCT). Greenland receives funding from the EU for sustainable development and has signed agreements increasing cooperation with the EU.

Greenland joined the then European Community in 1973 as a county along with Denmark, but after gaining autonomy in 1979 with the introduction of home rule within the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland voted to leave in 1982 and left in 1985, to become an OCT. The main reason for leaving is disagreements about the Common Fisheries Policy and to regain control of Greenlandic fish resources to subsequently remain outside EU waters. Citizens of Greenland are, nonetheless, EU citizens within the meaning of EU treaties and Danish nationality law.

Irish Conservation Box

The Irish Conservation Box (ICB) or Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA) is a Marine Protected Area stretching along the southwest coast of Ireland. The ICB was defined based on advice from marine biologists, and following review by European Union fisheries ministers of the Common Fisheries Policy, as a means to safeguard the "biological sensitivity and commercial importance" of the waters around Ireland.

Marine and Fisheries Agency

The Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) was an executive agency of the United Kingdom government, founded on 1 October 2005, that controlled sea fishing in seas around England and Wales. Responsibilities included enforcement of sea fisheries legislation, licensing of UK commercial fishing vessels, sampling of fish catches, management of UK fisheries quotas and an advisory role and general liaison with the fishing industry. It received over £27 million in funding in 2009 and was replaced by the Marine Management Organisation on 1 April 2010.Formerly "Marine Fisheries Agency", the Marine and Fisheries Agency had a wide range of responsibilities and undertook delivery functions for Defra in a number of areas.

In England and Wales, the Agency had overall responsibility for the enforcement of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and its associated regulations. English and Welsh waters within British Fishery Limits covered approximately 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) and extended up to 200 miles (320 km) from the coast, or to the meridian line with other Member States' waters, where the distance between the countries is less than 200 miles (320 km). In 2007, according to The Marine and Fisheries Agency official statistics, there were 12,729 active fishermen using 2,673 vessels in the UKIn 2009 the Marine and Fisheries Agency were part of an expert advisory group during an report into UK offshore wind farms and their potential disruption to commercial fishing activities. The report cited statistics provided by the Marine Fisheries Agency and concluded that there should be early consultation between offshore wind farm developers and fishermen during the planning process.

Merchant Shipping Act 1988

The Merchant Shipping Act 1988 c.12 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom. It aimed to prevent foreign fishing fleets from fishing in British territorial waters. In the Factortame case, its provisions in Parts I and II, Registration of British Ships, were disapplied by the House of Lords when they were found to conflict with European Community law and the Common Fisheries Policy. Part II dealt only with fishing vessels and was found to be repugnant by the European Court of Justice. The subsequent definition of British Ships is found in the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

Merchant Shipping Act 1995

The Merchant Shipping Act 1995 is an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom in 1995. It consolidated much of the UK's maritime legislation, repealing several Acts in their entirety and provisions in many more, some dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. It appoints several officers of Admiralty Jurisdiction such as the Receiver of Wreck. The Act of 1995 updates the prior Merchant Shipping Act 1894. The lead part on British ships was impacted by the outcome of the Factortame case, as the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 was impugned by the Common Fisheries Policy.

Patrick Nicholls

Patrick Charles Martyn Nicholls (born 14 December 1948) was the Conservative MP for Teignbridge between 1983 and 2001.

A solicitor by profession and formally an East Devon District Councillor, Nicholls was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983 at the age of 34 winning a comfortable majority over the nationally known Liberal Party candidate, John Alderson who had resigned as Chief Constable of Devon & Cornwall specifically to fight the seat.

Within a year of entering the House of Commons, Nicholls was made a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Office Minister David Mellor, and subsequently to the Minister of Agriculture John Selwyn Gummer. He was also made a Steward of The British Boxing Board of Control.

After the 1987 General Election, Nicholls entered the government as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment. Still not yet 40, he was given a key role in piloting the second tranche of Conservative Trades Union reforms through Standing Committee. His upward advance was checked, however, when he was arrested for drink driving in 1990, as a result of which he resigned from the government.

Nicholls’ career was, however, only temporally stalled. He was appointed to the Westminster Foundation for Democracy at its inception in 1992 and served on The North Atlantic Assembly and the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs. In 1994, he was made a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and in 1997 was appointed the Shadow Fisheries Minister by the then Leader of the Opposition, William Hague. A leading Eurosceptic, Nicholls was credited with having single-handedly turned Conservative Party policy around in favour of leaving the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

After losing his seat in 2001, Nicholls became Chairman of The Young Britons Foundation, a research think-tank established in July 2003 to "help train tomorrow's centre-right leaders and activists today". Currently, Nicholls is a freelance political journalist and lecturers on British and American politics in Europe and America as well as the UK.

Nicholls is married with three children. His wife, Bridget, is also a solicitor.

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