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Evaluating fisheries systems: A comprehensive analytical framework and its application to the EU's Common Fisheries Policy

Belschner, Tobias, Ferretti, Johanna, Strehlow, Harry v., Kraak, Sarah B. M., Döring, Ralf, Kraus, Gerd, Kempf, Alexander, Zimmermann, Christopher
Fish and fisheries 2019 v.20 no.1 pp. 97-109
European Union, accountability, compliance, fisheries, fisheries law, fisheries management, governance, issues and policy, leasing
Despite regular reforms, problems under the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) persist. In order to identify priorities for future reforms of the policy, we developed an analytical framework consisting of 17 criteria and specifying indicators, derived from scientific, wider fisheries, and common resources literature. We applied the framework to the CFP governance system, its regulations, institutions, and processes at EU as well as member state level. The results show that the CFP does not fully meet any of the 17 criteria for an effective resource policy. Its performance was assessed as “neutral” regarding 10 criteria and “negative” regarding seven criteria. Trend analysis shows that there is a slightly positive trend regarding the CFP's performance, with five criteria trending positively, 11 showing a neutral trend and only one criterion trending negatively (simplicity of rules). The analysis identified five criteria which are performing badly and have not improved over time: simplicity of rules, user‐pays principle, resource efficiency, accountability, and compliance mechanisms. Future reforms of the CFP should first and foremost address these criteria while continuing efforts to improve the CFP's performance regarding other criteria. The evaluation of the CFP demonstrates the applicability of the analytical framework which can also be applied to other multilevel fisheries governance systems. Moreover, the results can inform reforms of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. Like the CFP, these institutions manage transboundary fisheries and have not effectively addressed the issues of resource rent capture and resource efficiency.