Towards 2002: Subsidiarity and the Regionalization of the Common Fisheries Policy

  • David Symes


In the run up to the year 2002, the search for the formula that might assuage the swelling chorus of disapproval for the existing Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is gathering pace. Close analysis of the criticism would suggest that the principal weakness of the present policy derives very largely from attempts to impose a single, monolithic structure upon what is a large, highly diversified and ecologically sensitive ‘common pond’ stretching through some 30° of latitude from the innermost reaches of the Gulf of Bothnia to the Straits of Gibraltar. This Leviathan approach is combined with a failure to take account of the impacts of structural and conservation policies on the socio-economic conditions in those coastal regions which depend most heavily upon fisheries for their livelihoods. Much of the complaint is directed not at regulatory instruments per se; indeed, there is a general consensus throughout the industry of the need to reduce harvesting capacity and to regulate fishing effort. Instead criticism is focused largely on the failings of the institutional framework — its lack of sensitivity, its failure to incorporate professional advice and experience from the resource users and the allegedly uneven implementation of policy among the different member states. The quest, therefore, is for a policy system which will guarantee greater regional sensitivity in its approach both to the management of a sustainable resource base and to the sustainable development of fisheries-dependent regions.


Member State Resource User Fishery Management User Participation Fishery Policy 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Symes

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