«Europe and the Tragedy of the Commons: A detailed analysis of the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) euryopa Institut européen de ...»
Commission and national fisheries ministers trying to get the most beneficial share out of it. Long term economic interests, environmental and ecological needs of fish stock and the marine eco-system are generally ignored. Instead, the allocation of TACs and quotas should cover a period of at least 2-3 years, obviously following scientific advice. The observance of scientific recommendations in the allowances on catches should be made legally binding. In case of a stock reduction of a given specie during this period, TACs should be re-set. The allocation and setting of quotas over a longer period of time allows fishermen and fishing industries to adapt to the measures and helps to create an economically viable and sustainable industry. Furthermore, catch quotas should in general be fixed a little lower than scientifically recommended in order to allow fluctuations in stock. Therefore, the consumer will also benefit from it with relatively stable prices and supply of stock.
Various green activists argue that in order to protect certain species and for reproduction measures, fishing bans on specific fish species need to be extended. However, overfishing almost inevitably concerns several species both those who are commercially important and those who are bycatch or discards to those fisheries. When nets are cast the content is diverse, it is not only cod or mackerel, other species are also caught and if the vessel does not own a TAC or fishing rights for one of these species they have to be thrown back into the sea. They are not allowed to be landed or processed. These fish are often referred to as discards.
Putting a fishing ban on a certain specie is therefore rather hard to implement. A more efficient and sustainable measure would be the closure of an affected area over a period of time. By this manner, fish stocks in this area will be given several months for recovery and reproduction without any fishing activity disturbing them. In addition, it is simpler and much more unproblematic for fishermen to observe closed areas than adjusting their net and mesh sizes in a way that the banned specie can still escape.
30 Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons"
Enforcement procedures and control systems
The problems arising in the enforcement system are due to shortcomings and insufficient enforcement activities by EU institutions. Firstly, various Member States have not correctly implemented enforcement regulations and hence IUU and black fishing activities are continued at a large scale. Secondly, fishermen and vessels operating in EU waters are confronted with different control and enforcement systems depending on the national jurisdiction and authorities of the waters in which they operate in.
It is vital to implement general principles of control and monitoring and the enforcement procedures in the EU need to be at the same standard in all 25 Member States.
The Community lacks a coherent and clearly formulated enforcement and control system for the Common Fisheries Policy.
Until present, Member States are responsible for control and enforcement of CFP regulations: "They shall ensure effective control, inspection and enforcement of the rules of the CFP on their territory and in the waters subject to their sovereignty or jurisdiction"54. The main problem is the uniformity in the enforcement procedure of CFP regulations by the respective Member States. The EU needs to introduce independent inspections and allow inspectors to penalise any state that breaches the CFP regulations. The CFP in the EU suffers from an absence of the harmonisation of sanctions against any law breaching State55.
Although the CFP reform clearly sets new targets for the responsibility of Member States to ensure effective implementation and in case of violations make sure sanctions and penalties successfully prohibit further offences, penalties from the Commission against Member States have also been introduced. The 2003 CFP review has instituted penalty measures for those Member States who do not comply with the CFP and Community rules.
54 Magnor NERHEIM, The new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP):
Towards sustainable management and a profitable fisheries sector?, op.
cit., p. 32.
55 www.commondreams.org, http://europa.eu.int/comm/ op. cit.
Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" 31 These punishments can impose a vessel activity reduction, deduction of quotas (TACs) or even a block in EU financial aid. In some cases penalty payments can also be inflicted on either a Member State or particular fishing industry56. The whole control and monitoring system has to be reviewed. It is obviously not sufficient enough if only the Member States are inspected for the proper implementation of EU law or rules; fishermen also need to be inspected directly on their vessels to verify logbooks, mesh sizes of nets, the engine power and tonnage amongst others. The monitoring of fishermen is the responsibility of the Member States but should also be monitored and frequently checked by Community inspectors.
The Commission has set up a new regulatory framework of control and enforcement so as to resolve the enforcement shortcomings. By doing so, the Commission hopes to have found a response "to the need for simplification of existing provisions and better enforceability of the CFP rules"57. These improvements are
presented as follows:
• a clear definition of responsibilities between Member States and the Commission,
• uniform rules for the enforcement of the CFP, including levels for sanctions and measures to prevent the repeat of serious infringements,
• a framework for co-operation and co-ordination between national authorities responsible for the control of enforcement, a Community Fisheries Inspection Report.
• the Commission intends to create a joint inspection structure at Community level58.
Uniform enforcement rules of CFP measures are crucial throughout the EU. The Union currently counts 25 Member States of which most have a fishing industry. So far, each Member State has had its own inspectorate with occasional inspections directly from Brussels. This has been changed since the foundation of the 56 http://europa.eu.int/comm/ op. cit.
58 http://europa.eu.int/comm/ 32 Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) in March 2003, which created an organisational structure with a legal mandate for enforcement and monitoring activities. In order to guarantee the uniformity of CFP rules national control and monitoring authorities, the Commission and the EU fisheries control agency will increase cooperation among and within each other. The latter will organise the deployment of the 25 EU inspectors within the EU’s fishing sectors for the monitoring, inspection, surveillance and research of resources. It is hoped that enforcement activities will be carried out and applied in Member States in accordance with EU aspirations via the CFCA. Multinational inspection teams should ensure confidence in the uniform enforcement of CFP rules59. Direct controls and inspections in ports (on EU territory) and on vessels (in EU waters) will be undertaken by the EU inspectors in collaboration with national inspection teams. Yet, the Commission has recently also been empowered to carry out direct inspections on fishing vessels without prior notices to Member States; CFCA has taken over this role of the Commission. It should be stressed that regardless of the creation of CFCA, Member States remain those largely responsible for the application, control and enforcement of CFP rules. CFCA merely assists the coordination and harmonisation of EU enforcement procedures as well as giving technical advice and recommendations based on scientific research in the management and the allocation of resources60. However, in order to be effective and useful a close cooperation and dialog between national, international and EU monitoring and control systems and agencies are required.
Community aid and subsidies for the fishing fleet The large overcapacity of the EU fleet is an undeniable fact of which EU institutions are aware. They also agree that this surplus 59http://europa.eu.int/fisheries 60 IEEP, Towards uniform and effective implementation of the CFP, Briefing No.13, London, July 2003.
Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" 33 fleet capacity threatens fish resources and have therefore recently established a vessel scrapping programme. Furthermore, the EU admits that public aid has contributed a significant deal to the problem of overcapacity and will therefore be brought to an end at the end of December 2004. From 2005 onwards, subsidies and community aid can no longer be invested in the purchase of new vessels. However, the fleet is still eligible for public aid in the domains of safety equipment and improvement of hygiene and working conditions on board, for training measures and new technological innovations that do not increase fishing effort61.
Following a Commission report of May 2002 based on scientific research, the fleet has to be reduced by 30 to 60% (that is an equivalent of 8 600 vessels) in subsequent years62. The necessary reduction of the EU fleet capacity will result in growing unemployment and financial hardship for citizens relying on fishing as a source of income. With a system of ITQ the problem would certainly ease financial hardship and prevent many fishermen from becoming bankrupt. Without an ITQ system the EU has to find other means to relieve those concerned with retraining programmes or with settlement of a certain sum.
It is predictable and understandable to a certain degree that national as well as EU interests were until now the safeguarding of workplaces. Short term economic benefits and the increase of productivity were until recently the main aims of the state. Now, the time has come where the state and the EU have to see to the costs and manage the problems arising from this economically completely inefficient fisheries policy. The EU paid € 1.4 billion of public aid through the FIFG to the modernisation and restoration of the fleet, for the modernisation of harbours and to the processing industry. Indeed, many livelihoods are at risk, numerous dismissals are part of the rationalisation programme and the fishing industry will face financial hardship too.
But it is logic that there cannot be 61 http://europa.eu.in/fisheries 62 Magnor NERHEIM, The new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP):
Towards sustainable management and a profitable fisheries sector?, op.
cit., p. 32.
34 Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" an industry unless sufficient resources are available for harvesting.
It is a simple addition of logical facts that should convince every party involved in fishing activities: no fish, no fishing industry; no fishing industry, no employment. If the fishing industry is not undertaking measures for recreational plans now, it will be hit in a couple of years when stocks are entirely extinct and the complete fishing industry is on the verge of collapse. The CFP has to deliver sustainable fish resources for a sustainable industry and sustainable workplaces.
The surplus fleet capacity also incorporates harming effects from an economic point of view. By means of intensive overinvestment throughout the last decanis, yet with decreasing fish stock and absent TAC reduction measures, the EU built up to an overcapacity of vessels operating in EU waters. Fishermen live a vicious circle; they are forced to take loans in order to be able to continue fishing activities and thus damage already depleted stock even more as they have to pay back their credits. Consequently, it is more profitable and safe for fisheries businesses to think and act for immediate benefits, though at the cost of sustainable resources and lasting income security. This is obviously not very cautious and prudent because long term profits are not assured as a result of overexploiting the present resources. The question that arises is how to change and solve this situation of constant overexploitation of marine resources? Throughout this paper various options for the management of lasting sustainable fisheries are proposed.
Imagining a graph which illustrates the national economic gains of a sustainable management of renewable resources, it would
translate as follows:
The economic benefits for society would be increased if the prospect fisheries policy were to pursue the objective of sustainability and if TACs were fixed at a rate where lasting conservation for fish stock is assured. In this way, the supply of fish for the consumer is ensured along with the protection of workplaces within the fisheries industry. Through renunciation of a share of the present fish stock and the thereof resulting long-term protection/conservation of stock/returns, the economic benefit for society would be larger. This statement is justified by comparing Europe and the "Tragedy of the Commons" 35 the two PPLs (Production Possibility Line). At present, immediate gains benefit the fishermen today but production yield is limited or even depleted for prospect generations; whereas with a sustainable fisheries management the intersection of the two axes with the PPL has moved to the right and thus ensures conservation of marine fish stock and fish supply for society. The curve illustrating the economic benefits for society has also shifted to the right, which demonstrates the gain for society. Besides, fishermen acquire the assertion of employment and lasting income and the consumer benefits because fish prices will drop. This obviously implies that after the sustainable fisheries management a renewal of resource overexploitation is hindered.
Instead, the EU should pay subsidies for aquaculture. The challenge is to respond to and meet consumer demands, using production methods with a minimum impact on the environment.