I am enjoying an exchange on linkedin’s CFP reform group about the CFP. There is an interesting exchange on whether the CFP has failed. I think it has. In a former professional life I asked MRAG this question. They came came up with an answer.
Since the last reform, profits and stocks have declined. Fleet numbers declined. They would have declined more if it were not for subsidies from taxpayers.
An obvious reason is that the Commission often set quotas at levels inconsistent than scientific advice.
The Council usually took the Commission’s recommendations and made it worse.Fishing ministers from many countries usually had fishermen sitting in the Council to advise them, often claiming there were lots of fish in the sea, and to ignore
the scientific advice.
That strange practice, unique to fishing council meetings, of allowing fishermen to sit next to or in fishing council debates is unique. It would be like chemical companies helping ministers in whether to introduce controls on hazardous substances.
Good things have happened. Denmark has shown the way in the EU by returning their fleet to profitability and stock increases.
IUU has declined. Actual enforcement on the ground by countries has helped. Retailers and processors turning away from IUU fleets is another. A strange correlation can be seen in the drop in IUU levels and increased discards – surely a coincidence?
Fortunately, things are bound to get better. Subsidies that have artificially kept unviable business alive will end.
Why? Europe’s governments have no cash to pay off fishermen.There is no cash left. Profitable fleets will be left and they’ll work against the tragedy of the commons and for property rights.