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«Europe and the Tragedy of the Commons: A detailed analysis of the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) euryopa Institut européen de ...»

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Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and the UK are the largest employers in the fishery sector ranging from 132 631 employees in Spain to 42 788 employees in the UK. In 1997, Spain had the highest representation of fishermen in the EU with 68 275, succeeded by Italy with 43 547, Greece with 41334, Portugal with 29 416, France with 25 084 and the UK with 18 706. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden count less than 7 000 fishermen152. DG Fisheries officials have noticed a steady decline in the employment level by 21% during the years of 1990-1998153. A further reduction of the fleet capacity which is needed in order maintain a sustainable fishing industry and guarantee sufficient fish stock for future generations would lead to supplementary unemployment. The EU and regional fisheries organisations must launch retraining programmes or create other employment possibilities/facilities in order to cushion the socioeconomic impact of the CFP reform. Areas where the dependency on fishery activities is very elevated and where few employment alternatives are available are especially affected. Diversification of 150 Ibid., p. 13.

151 EUROPÄISCHE KOMMISSION, "Die Fischwirtschaft in den einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten", op.cit., p. 59, 63, 66.

152 Ibid.

153 EUROPÄISCHE KOMMISSION, "Die Fischwirtschaft in der EU", op.

–  –  –

economic activities in these areas should be considered a priority by the governments concerned.

The processing industry Processing is an important market of the fishery industry in the EU.

It guarantees essential occupation possibilities in areas which are greatly dependent on fishery activities for example in Spain, France, Denmark, Ireland and the UK. The plants are generally small to medium-sized enterprises with around 20 employees and they are situated alongside coastal areas, close to ports. The main types of processed fishery products include preparations of fish caught in vessels operating in coastal zones which do not processes their yield directly on board, along with preserving and tinning fish, crustaceans and molluscs154. The total return of the processing sector of the 15 Member States in 2001 amounted to € 16 216 193 million. The UK, Spain, France and Germany lead the principal processing industries with the highest value of output ranging from € 2 939 300 in the UK to € 2 169 000 in Germany155. The total employment rate in 2001 came to 101 845 persons; of which the leading employers are Spain (22 263), the UK (20 926), France (14

453) and Germany (11 953). The successors employ less than 7 000 persons156. The sum of European processing and marketing industries was 3 393 industries in 2001 of which 2 022 employ more than 20 persons. The top three processing countries in terms of number of firms are Spain (683), France (487) and Italy (459).

Although the UK is the leader concerning the return in the processing industry it only has 370 firms of which 138 offer more than 20 jobs. Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Portugal possess less than one hundred processing industries. However, all four of them 154 EUROPEAN COMMISSION, DG Fisheries, "The Processing Sector (2001)", op. cit., p. 28, 29.

155 Ibid.

156 Ibid.

Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" 67 employ more than 20 people in their enterprises157. The European processing industry, especially in northern countries such as Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Sweden, relies heavily on imported raw goods from third countries for processing. The EU supports the industry by lowering import tax for goods originating from third countries. The main species imported are tuna, crustaceans and so on158. A possible reduction of the fishing effort would need to be compensated with additional processing of aquaculture products in order to guarantee jobs. The EUs intention is to balance out diminished catching activities with higher aquaculture production; on the one hand to guarantee jobs in the processing industry and on the other to satisfy consumer demands.

157 Ibid.

158 EUROPÄISCHE KOMMISSION, "Die Fischwirtschaft in der EU", op.

cit., p. 56, 57.

Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" 69

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Impact of accession of ten new Member States The European Union experienced a historical moment in May 2004 with the accession of ten new Member States, most of them former Soviet bloc countries. It is historical in two ways: firstly the EU has undergone the largest enlargement process in its history by adhering ten new members at once and secondly and probably the most significant point was the accession of eight states form the former eastern bloc. Since the collapse of communism in 1991, ECE countries possessed and demonstrated their strong desire of a "return to Europe". This event has been of significant importance to these countries as they always claimed to have fallen victim of communism and hence been forced to abstain from the integration process of west Europe.

Pre- accession, the Commission maintained, enlargement should not pose any difficulty to the fishing industry159. Indeed, due to the fact that a few of the ECE countries are landlocked countries, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, it is apparent that their fishing activities are limited. Yet, aquaculture plays a key role in several of these countries. By looking at the statistics shown below which indicate the number of catches of each new MS no real threatening fishing power can be seen. The number of catches in 2001 is relatively low; the external trade sector, especially imports, is of vital importance to the ECE countries though because local supply does not satisfy national demand. Even the two island states Cyprus and Malta have an insignificant impact on the EU in terms of catches. Due to various arising concerns on behalf of the new MS some changes have been adopted since May 2004 such as a limitation on fishing effort in the Gulf of Riga and the restricted 159 http://europa.eu.int/comm 70 Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" access to the 25-mile EEZ around Malta160. Furthermore, the Community will have to expand Community inspections to guarantee the compliance of CFP rules and seek potential criminals to the fishery sector. Further talks on fishing effort in terms of fleet capacity in the EU are needed. However, because of the rather small fishing sector of the new MS cuts in their fleet size and capacity will be moderate. A reallocation and re-negotiation of TACs with all EU Member States will be inevitable in order to keep a biological safe balance between fishing effort and fish resources.





If the Community leaves TACs and catches of the new countries the way they currently are, overexploitation will worsen and fish stocks will sooner or later be depleted. The Community has to find a means to keep fish stock in safe limits allowing a reproduction whilst allowing all Member countries to pursue fishing. The new allocation of TAC will result in a reduction for old Members. TACs are already kept to a minimum in order to resolve the tragedy of the Commons, so fishermen will most probably not be overenthusiastic to share the little fish stocks with the newcomers.

–  –  –

Cyprus counts around 700 vessels of which 85% measure less than 12m and therefore operate in coastal regions. Total catches in 2001 amounted to 75 803 tonnes, the main specie caught being pickerel, accounting for 30% of the total catches. The fisheries sector plays a vital socio-economic role as it employs 1 350 people, 1000 of which are directly operating in the catching sector. Due to the fact that most fishery products are freshly sold to the consumer the processing sector in Cyprus is only recently staring to build up.

For the moment the industry processes products from aquaculture and offers approximately 100 jobs. Aquaculture production is on a steady increase and produced nearly 2 300 tonnes in 2003. The employment rate is reckoned to be over 100 people. The main species produced are gilthead seabream, sea bass, rainbow trout, 72 Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" Indian white prawn and shaprsnout seabream161. Freshwater fish farming takes place in the mountains and produces around 100 tonnes of trout. Cyprus imported 9 000 tonnes of fish in 2002 to supplement the countries own production of 4 000 tonnes; that is 70% of the locally consumed fish is improted. As a result of being one of the larger fishing islands in the EU Mediterranean area, Cyprus retains a per capita consumption of 22.3kg per annum in 1999 and comes second after Malta concerning the annual per capita consumption of the newly adhered MS162.

Czech Republic being a landlocked country has limited fishing activities which usually take place in freshwater. The annual yield in 2001 came to 4 600 tonnes. By reason of operating exclusively in freshwater zones, the Czech Republic does not contribute to the overexploitation of fish resources and the depletion of marine fish stock. Employment in the Czech fisheries sector is estimated at 2 600 jobs of which around 700 are directly involved in the catching sector. Species seized are to a large extent carp, freshwater bream, pike, pike-perch and grass carp. The processing industry is not very significant and is limited to freshwater and some aquaculture products. It employs some 100 people. Aquaculture in contrast is a very lucrative and economically important industry in the Czech Republic. The employment rate reached 1 900 people in 2001.

Aquaculture produced around 20 000 tonnes of fish, mainly dominated by common carp but also bighead carp, rainbow trout, grass carp and tench. It generated a total turnover of € 57 million in 2001. 40% of the total production of 13 600 tonnes are being exported which demonstrates the weight of foreign trade to Czech fish farms. 12 000 tonnes of exported fishery products are fresh, frozen or chilled. The annual per capita consumption of fish is rather low with 9.7 kg163.

161 EUROPEAN COMMISSION, DG Fisheries, "Top 5 species produced in aquaculture by new Member State (2002)", op.cit., p. 25.

162 Ibid., Information on Cyprus: Info_cyprus_en.pdf. accessible on www.europa.eu.int/fisheries, enlargement.

163 Information on Czech Republic: Info_czech_en.pdf, Ibid.

Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" 73 Estonia has a fleet capacity of 150 vessels longer than 12m and 500 small vessels operating in Estonian coastal boundaries. The Baltic Sea is the prime fishing area supplying around 70% of the total 105 000 tonnes caught in 2001 for these vessels. Fishing generally concentrates on the following species: sprat, herring, prawn, smelt and halibut164. However the fleet also owns a distantwater fleet counting 15 vessels which despite a reduction in recent years still represent significant 15% of the total catches (mainly shrimp). The catching sector guarantees 5 400 jobs for fishermen which accounts for little more than half of the total employment number (10 000). The processing sector plays a vital economic and social role in Estonia providing 40% of the total export volume and offering 4 500 jobs. Estonia exported 163 000 tonnes of fresh, frozen and canned fish in 2001 whilst it imported 65 000 tonnes.

Aquaculture is a very small but expanding sector in Estonia. In 2001 it produced 467 tonnes with a value of € 1 451 million with the production of three main species: rainbow trout, common carp and eel. Aquaculture provided 60 jobs. Estonia is trying to help minimise the effects of overfishing by growing fish entirely for restocking measures especially salmon, trout, whitefish, pike, perch-pike and tench. This is a very positive, thoroughly thought through and convincing model because young fish are not subject to catches165.

Hungary is another landlocked country but consist of an intense inland freshwater fishery. The fisheries sector provides 5 000 jobs in total. Aquaculture and inland fisheries activities produced 20 000 tonnes of fish. The inland fishery yield amounted to 6 600 tonnes.

The catches in Hungary are divided between 3 500 commercially fishermen and 370 000 recreational anglers who concentrate on various carp species and pike. The processing industry is very limited and small because the majority of fish is directly consumed or exported fresh. Hungary presents a low annual per capita consumption rate with only 3.8kg. This is the lowest rate of the ten 164 EUROPEAN COMMISSION, DG Fisheries, "Top 5 species produced in aquaculture by new Member State (2002)", op. cit., p. 24.

165 Information on Estonia: Info_estonia_en.pdf, Ibid.

74 Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" countries of the recently enlarged Union. Just 20% of all imports are destined for human consumption. Total exports came to 4 272 tonnes (€ 6 483 million) in 2001 of which 70% contained fresh, chilled or frozen fish products. Aquaculture concentrates mainly on the carp family as well as catfish, eel and pike; the total production volume came to around 1 300 tonnes in 2001 with a return of € 25 283 million. This sector provided 1 400 jobs166.

Latvia consists of around 200 vessels operating in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga in addition to 20 smaller boats fishing in coastal zones and small boats generally without engine operating along the shoreline. The catches in 2002 came to 125 433 tonnes and consisted of herring, cod, salmon and sprat. The fishing industry is extremely important along the coastline as few employment alternatives are available. 1.2% of the active population are directly employed in the fisheries sector, that is 13 900 people. In general the processing sector processes locally landed products and produces approximately 155 700 tonnes of canned, chilled and frozen fishery products, 90% of which are for export use. Aquaculture in Latvia is an expanding market in recent years and produced 430 tonnes of fish with an estimated value of € 710 thousand in 2001. The main species bred originate from the carp family, but also crayfish rainbow trout, pike and sturgeon.

Aquaculture becomes and important alternative business for farmers in Latvia167.



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