The following section outlines five qualitatively different models of regionalisation of the CFP on the basis of our discussion so far. In other words, each of the following models reflects an integrated perception of how the questions of who, where, and what could be answered ‘in practice’ and they also contribute to the objectives of CFP governance in varying ways. By referring to these models as ‘archetypes’ we emphasise that they are—rather than detailed ready-to-apply systems—rough skeletons drafted primarily with the intention to create an illustrative suite of potential models, which could form a point-of-departure for discussions.
We do not claim that this is a complete list of possible models—far from it. A full list of hypothetical models based on our three problem dimensions including sub-dimensions would be almost unimaginably long. Simply consider that the variation of stakeholder involvement (five options) multiplied by the issue of whether regionalisation should be about fisheries management or marine management (two options) results in ten different models.
Consequently, in deciding on our selection of archetypes we have not resorted to any such automatism but rather included five models that based on our pre-knowledge of the CFP we believe capture important perceptions of ways to go forward. It should be mentioned, however, that we have prioritised presenting and discussing models that represent a significant and qualitative change from the current system as opposed to models that represent variations of the current system.
Archetype 1: nationalisation
The first alternative to the current governance system in our selection of regionalisation archetypes is the Nationalisation model. The Nationalisation model represents a qualitatively different configuration to the current system and also stands in contrast to the subsequent models outlined, where an intermediary level of governance between the EU and the member states is actively sought strengthened. This is not the case under the Nationalisation model, which puts the member states at the centre. In that way it represents a perspective on regionalisation that responds to the question of ‘where’ in a fundamentally different way than any of the other models in the selection—and this is its trademark.
"The member states are awarded the responsibility for the conservation of resources in their own Exclusive Economic Zones. Issues relating to shared stocks would be sorted out through a system of bilateral agreements between member states or any other arrangements that the member states themselves deem necessary. The level of involvement of stakeholders would be an issue for the individual member state to decide."
In its pure form the Nationalisation model entails arguably the most radical change from the current system among the presented selection of regionalisation models. In fact [Long (2010)] argues that nationalisation, in the sense that we outline it above, would require an amendment of the Lisbon Treaty. This model turns EU fisheries management upside down by awarding the authority for resource conservation measures to the member states within their own Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ)—as opposed to the current system where this is one of only a few exclusive competences of the EU. Management of stocks shared by different states would then, likely, be a matter of setting up bilateral or multilateral agreements among the countries (EU as well as non-EU) in whose EEZs the stock in question inhabits, much like the agreements that are negotiated yearly between for instance Norway and the EU.
The Nationalisation model would per definition eliminate the problem of excessive micromanagement or one-size-fits-all solutions from the EU level, as in principle the EU would not even be in a position to coordinate approaches. Because it will in general be up to the individual member states to decide their national approach, it is difficult to say much more about how such a system would operate in practice at the level of fisheries. For instance, at member state level micromanagement may continue under such a system depending on the national style of management. Nonetheless, stakeholders exclusively concerned with stocks present in the EEZ of only their own member state will likely feel that decisions are being made closer to them and they could, depending on the national style of management, have more direct say in the management of such stocks. In opposition, those concerned with stocks shared with other member states or stocks in other member states’ EEZs will have less say, and their interests will have to be defended by their government in negotiations with other states. This would be the situation in many fisheries, as the geopolitical characteristics of EU waters results in a high number of shared stocks.
Archetype 2: regional fisheries management organisations
The heart and soul of the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) modelh is the establishment of formalised structures with ‘institutional personalities’ at the regional level. The RFMOs are given authorities to be exercised via delegation of authority to the member states on condition that they exercise their power jointly and without interference from the central EU level within a specified mandate.
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations
"Under this model the member states would be given wide authority for fisheries conservation on the condition that the member states with fishing interests in a regional sea area establish a regional fisheries management organisation ( RFMO ) to deal with fisheries management issues specific to that area. A general framework for regional approaches will be provided by the central EU institutions. The stakeholders’ input will continue to be channelled through the RAC. However, the RAC would in most cases advice the RFMO rather than the central EU institutions. The exact extent to which stakeholders’ input is given weight in the decision-making process of the RFMO is up to that organisation on a case-by-case basis."
Generally, only member states with fishing interests in the specific sea area covered by the individual regional management organisation would participate in the RFMO—or alternatively, in a stricter interpretation than the one reflected in our text above, only member states with coastlines to the region. The geographical coverage of the individual regional management organisation would be the ‘regional sea area’, which may have different meanings to different sets of interests. However, generally the term ‘regional sea area’ when discussed in the context of EU fisheries management would refer to areas such as the North Sea or the Baltic Sea, or marine regions such as those covered by the RACs or alternatively the regions and sub-regions outlined in the MSFD ([European Parliament and Council 2008]).
The RFMO model presupposes considerable authority placed with the regional organisation—referred to as ‘wide authority’ above. Although not specifying how much authority this entails, the text above indicates that their authority should at least allow the different regional organisations to develop different approaches to management.
Under this model the RACs would continue to provide stakeholder input to the decision-making process. Basically they would continue operating as they do under the current system with the modification that instead of the Commission being the primary recipient of advice, the RFMOs or the member states in their capacities as part of the RFMO would become the main recipients.
This model potentially relieves the central level of the burden of micro-managing; at the same time, the EU would, as opposed to under the Nationalisation model, maintain a coordinating role as well the ability to set the overarching goals and the frame for the regional approaches. This would potentially increase the system’s ability to tailor-make management, as the EU would not have to apply off-the-peg, one-size-fits-all management solutions to the same extent as today. Furthermore, the feeling of distance between the decision-making body and the place where impacts of management or mis-management are felt would be reduced. Delegation of some authorities to a lower level would potentially facilitate more timely management measures as only the most principal decisions would have to go through the lengthy process of joint decision-making between the Council and European Parliament. Ideally, therefore, this model offers a more efficient and legitimate governance system as well as policies and measures more closely corresponding to the needs of the specific region.
However, what this model offers in particular, compared to most of the models in our selection of archetypes, is first and foremost that the model builds to a relatively wide extent on the current structures. The RAC can, as an example, be allowed to continue operating in a relatively unchanged format as an advisory body. As a consequence, this model also offers a governance system where there is a clear differentiation between those governing and those being governed. Based on advisory input from stakeholders, the EU and the member states would decide on how to do management. Coordination with other policy areas would need to be taken care of through the general framework decided upon by the central EU institutions or possibly in cooperation with other regional management organisations charged with other elements of marine management.
In terms of the level of stakeholder involvement, however, this model does not move beyond the weakest form of co-management, namely ‘co-management by consultation’. However, the feeling of being heard (and maybe also in reality being listened to) might be increased by getting a closer match between the RACs as advisory bodies and the RFMOs as decision-making bodies. Moreover, it should be noted that there is nothing in the model that precludes that a decision could be taken at regional level to involve stakeholders more in the decision-making process, which would then potentially move the regional system towards more evolved co-management.
However, these advantages are not guaranteed. In contrast, it could also be argued that the governance system will lose efficiency by including yet another decision-making level and that the system loses legitimacy because of even more complex procedures. Moreover, establishing mechanisms for ensuring delivery of the targets/the frame agreed at central level remains a challenge in this regional management organisation model as well as the next two variations, see below.
Regional fisheries co-management organisations
Our second variation on the regional management model theme in our selection of archetypes, the Regional Fisheries Co-Management Organisations (RFCOMO) model, distinguishes itself from the RFMO model described above by specifying stronger direct involvement of stakeholders in the regional decision-making process.
Regional Fisheries Co-Management Organisations
"Under this model the member states would be given wide authority for fisheries conservation on the condition that the member states with fishing interests in a regional sea area establish a regional fisheries co-management organisation ( RFCOMO) to deal with fisheries management issues specific for that area. A general framework for regional approaches will be provided by the central EU institutions. The RAC s would cease to exist; instead stakeholders, scientists, and member states’ administrators would work together within the RFCOMO to determine the best strategies for their regional area."
This model delivers stronger ownership of regulations by those subjected to them. Where the RFMO model allowed regional decisions to be made by the member states’ representatives alone acting on advice from stakeholders in the RAC, this model presupposes joint decision-making between member states’ representatives and stakeholders. Consequently, not only does this model decentralise authority to the regional level with the potential benefits that this entails, it also moves the system from ‘co-management by consultation’ to ‘co-management by partnership’ in relation to the specific authorities given to the RFCOMO.
Enlarged with government representatives and possibly scientists, in principle the RACs could be reorganised into RFCOMOs since the stakeholder expertise needed is already present there. In any case, the RAC, as the type of organisation it is presently, would likely cease to exist. As compared with the RFMO model, the RFCOMO model represents a more drastic change from the current system. Not only does the RFCOMO require delegation of authority from the central level to the regional level—as in the case of the RFMO via delegation of authority to the member states on condition that they exercise their power jointly—it also blurs the line between those being governed and those elected to govern. A lack of distinction such as this could pose particular challenges in terms of traditional good governance criteria such as accountability and transparency, as it might become less apparent who is actually doing the governing and in relation to some of those involved it will be difficult to hold them democratically accountable. Moreover, there is also a discussion to be taken in relation to how different stakeholder groups should be balanced. This discussion becomes much more delicate in the RFCOMO than in relation to the other models, where stakeholders are not awarded direct decision-making capabilities.
In terms of the geographical coverage and the interpretation of ‘wide authority’ the RFCOMO resembles the RFMO. Likewise, besides the potentially stronger buy-in of stakeholders to management measures than what can be expected by the RFMO, the RFCOMO potentially delivers the same benefits and suffers from the same weaknesses, as further expanded above.
Regional marine management organisations
Compared to the RFMO and the RFCOMO, the distinctive feature of the Regional Marine Management Organisation (RMMO) model, which also suggests the setting up of a regional organisation, is that it broadens the perspective of the possible regional organisation from dealing exclusively with management of fisheries to managing several or all activities of a specific regional marine area. Establishing this kind of organisation attempts in particular to tackle one of the coming years’ major challenges, namely that of implementing a more holistic approach to environmental management.
Regional Marine Management Organisations
"Under this model the member states would set up regional marine management organisations ( RMMO) with responsibility for coordinating all matters relating to the regional sea areas. Stakeholders from all sectors would be involved in some form—either as advisors or in a more co-management-like structure. The RAC s could continue to operate, but would only be providing advice as one of the affected sectors of the RMMO. Alternatively, the current RAC s could be opened for a wider group of stakeholders. A general framework for regional approaches will be provided by the central EU institutions."
The advantage of this model is its holistic approach, which goes hand in hand with the ecosystem approach to management. Potentially, the RMMO would be a forum for coordination of all the interests that claim their right to the marine space in a particular region. Having an integrated organisation for this would be an advantage insofar that integration of policies would be much more manageable since it would only involve one organisation and not several organisations having to interact.
In terms of the actual authority of the RMMOs, the regional organisation would be tasked with ‘coordinating’ all matters relating to a particular marine region, which might be interpreted as somewhat weaker than the ‘wide authority’ of the previous two regional management organisation models. Moreover, when discussing the issue of stakeholder involvement, this archetype leaves that an open question.
A particular challenge of this model is that it only to a very limited extent builds on the current system. As suggested by van Hoof, van Leeuwen and van [Tatenhove (2012)] elsewhere in this issue, a way forward could be to establish regional bodies by merging the RACs with the Regional Sea Conventions, e.g. HELCOM (the Helsinki convention for the Baltic Sea) and OSPAR (Convention for the North Sea). These organisations are presently not part of the EU system but play nonetheless an active role in relation to implementation of the MSFD.
Cooperative member state councils
The last model in our selection of regionalisation archetypes, the Cooperative Member State Council (CMSC) model, is the one that necessitates the least change to the current CFP governance structures. In fact the CMSC model can in principle be set up without having to formally reallocate authority in the governance system at all.
Cooperative Member State Councils
"The institutional structure and formal distribution of powers remains largely unchanged. However, the member states with fishing interests in a regional sea area establish mini-councils to deal with fisheries management issues specific to that area. These mini-councils forward their recommendations for formal approval to the overall
Fisheries Council. The
would in most cases advice the mini-council rather than the central
institutions. The exact extent to which stakeholders’ input is given weight in the recommendations of the mini-council is up to that mini-council on a case-by-case basis."
As described, the formal distribution of authority and the institutional structure stays largely as it is in the current system. Consequently, the central EU institutions remain formally in charge of deciding on most fisheries management issues in EU waters. However, for each regional sea the member states with fishing interests there (or in a stricter interpretation: coastlines) set up on a more or less formalised basis mini-councils to provide the central EU Fisheries Council with recommendations on fisheries management issues specific to that area. The RACs would provide the regional mini-councils with stakeholder input and thus the RACs would continue to operate more or less in the current form, now with the member states of the regional mini-council and the Commission as the primary recipients of advice.
To provide significant advantages as compared to the current system, it is a precondition that the recommendations from the mini-councils are, as a general rule, not challenged by or renegotiated in the central EU Fisheries Council, but rather adopted as the position of the Council in the decision-making process. Consequently, this model is highly dependent on the presence of political will in the EU Fisheries Council and the Commission—as well as in the European Parliament—to allow for different approaches and accept that one region might favour a different path than another region.
The primary advantage of this model is the relative ease with which it could be installed. Under this model the EU central level would still apply management from the centre, but the exact nature of that management would de facto (but notably not de jure) be decided at the regional level. This would in practice allow member states sharing an interest in a specific region to develop their own strategies without having to worry about how the adopted approach will be received by all the other EU member states, which by default would opt out of having a say in management in the areas where they do not have a direct interest.
Although empowerment of stakeholders is not a specific aim of this model, it is nevertheless likely that a relationship could develop between the mini-council and the relevant RAC. Potentially this could reduce the feeling of distance between those making the decisions and those subjected to them, perhaps enabling stakeholders to propose measures that better fit the actual situation of the region in question.
In contrast to the various regional management organisation models, as an example, this model does not have the same potential in terms of delivering more timely management by excluding the central level from a number of more technical decisions.