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Towards a science-based regionalisation of the Common Fisheries Policy


Future approaches to fisheries management must take much closer account of regional fisheries practices, the specificities of regional ecosystems, and of the diverse ""multi-actor""[[See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part (see text box).]] interests as a basis for implementing an ecosystem-based approach, without disregarding the likely interconnections with large marine ecosystems. On a regional basis, projects should identify potential biological, technical, economic, administrative, social and societal barriers to achieving the CFP's fisheries management objectives, through regionalisation instituted by Article 18 of the new Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. Projects should identify potential social and economic imbalances arising from changes allowing the fishing industry and fisheries managers to adapt to new knowledge and new governance arrangements. Highlighting strengths and weaknesses of the emerging regionalisation process and structures, research projects should also develop and propose ways of resolving or circumventing barriers that have been identified and the means to evaluate how effective these ways are, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. Projects should consider work being carried-out in regional seas conventions (RSCs) and explore how RSCs and regional fisheries management structures can work better together.

In line with the objective of the EU Strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM (2012) 497), proposals addressing the Mediterranean should contribute to implement the Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area (The BLUEMED Initiative)[[The ""Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area (The BLUEMED Initiative)"" aims to advance a shared vision of a Mediterranean Sea that is healthy, productive, resilient, understood and valued so as to promote the well-being and prosperity of our citizens and future generations and boost socio-economic growth and jobs. It was jointly developed by Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain and presented by the Italian Presidency during the Competitiveness Council of 04-05 December 2014.]].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 6 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Projects funded under this topic will by default participate in the Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020, with the option to opt-out, as described in the introduction.

The new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) envisages a regionalised ecosystem-based approach relying on detailed measures proposed jointly by Member States under the umbrella of common principles and benchmarks set up in EU legislation. This will require choosing appropriate management units (fisheries, fishing gears, sea basins, fish stocks, stock assemblages, target fleets, geographical units, etc.) and combining in an innovative manner management instruments and new governance mechanisms adapted to specific regional needs. Implementing this new approach to fisheries management is already a serious challenge for fisheries in European Atlantic waters. For Mediterranean fisheries, the challenge of regionalisation is exacerbated by the legal situation (narrow bands of EU waters with larger areas outside national jurisdictions), generally poor state of fish stocks (or lack of knowledge thereof), narrow continental shelves and the high number of small fishing vessels.

To improve regional implementation of the CFP and make progress on meeting the objective of maximum sustainable yield, proposals should:

  • Improve the biological, economic, technical, social and environmental knowledge base for regionalised management decisions taking into account the relevant specific issues when dealing with Mediterranean fisheries.
  • Share the project's results with relevant stakeholders and promote uptake by relevant end-users to improve social and societal acceptance of fisheries management measures.
  • Ensure that conservation measures are agreed at the regional level.
  • Improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.