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A Critical Review of the Common Fisheries Policy


  • Carsten Lynge Jensen

    () (Institute of Local Government Studies, Denmark)


The paper embodies an evaluation of the fishery policy at EU level. The common fishery policy is designed to solve a complex set of problems that emerge in the sector. This embodies on the one hand that the fishery policy is directed towards objectives that have their offspring in different theoretical paradigms for conservation, rationalisation and the community. On the other hand, the common fishery policy is also accommodates to solve the conflicting interests of the Member States; for example the resource sharing. The analysis in the paper shows that the Common Fishery Policy is based on inconsistent objectives, which arise as a consequence of the attempt to formulate a policy that deals with mutually conflicting objectives at the same time. The paper takes its outline in describing elements in the historical process of the development of the common fisheries policy. It is found that the issue of equal or restricted access to the fish resource has had an important influence on the formulating of the historical policies as it is also has today. In the analysis of the current fishery policy the paper primarily places its focus on the elements of the policies for conservation, structure and control, their objectives and means. It is indicated that the implemented policies do not state solution that entirely prevents the distortions of overfishery and overcapitalisation present in the classical open access fishery. This is e.g. seen in the structural policy, where the Member States are not prevented from acting strategically in order to pursue their own interests. Moreover, the control policy shows that the EU has had difficulties in implementing a reliable policy, which would prevent the Member States from using the control policy in their own favour by implementing a laissez faire policy, and thereby indirectly benefit from their national fishing industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Carsten Lynge Jensen, 1999. "A Critical Review of the Common Fisheries Policy," Working Papers 6/99, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sdk:wpaper:6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Feeny & Susan Hanna & Arthur F. McEvoy, 1996. "Questioning the Assumptions of the "Tragedy of the Commons" Model of Fisheries," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(2), pages 187-205.
    2. Nielsen, Jesper Raakjær, 1994. "Participation in fishery management policy making , : National and EC regulation of Danish fishermen," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 29-40, January.
    3. Bromley, Daniel W., 1991. "Testing for common versus private property: Comment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 92-96, July.
    4. Ruseski, Gorazd, 1998. "International Fish Wars: The Strategic Roles for Fleet Licensing and Effort Subsidies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 70-88, July.
    5. R. Quentin Grafton & Dale Squires & James E. Kirkley, 1996. "Private Property Rights And Crises In World Fisheries: Turning The Tide?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 90-99, October.
    6. E. Roy Weintraub, 1992. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 3-12, Supplemen.
    7. Holland, Dan & Gudmundsson, Eyjolfur & Gates, John, 1999. "Do fishing vessel buyback programs work: A survey of the evidence," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 47-69, January.
    8. Charles, Anthony T., 1992. "Fishery conflicts , : A unified framework," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 379-393, September.
    9. Munro, Gordon R. & Scott, Anthony D., 1985. "The economics of fisheries management," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics,in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 623-676 Elsevier.
    10. McKelvey, Robert, 1985. "Decentralized regulation of a common property renewable resource industry with irreversible investment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 287-307, December.
    11. Anthony T. Charles, 1988. "Fishery Socioeconomics: A Survey," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 64(3), pages 276-295.
    12. Homans, Frances R. & Wilen, James E., 1997. "A Model of Regulated Open Access Resource Use," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-21, January.
    13. Nielsen, Jesper Raakjær, 1992. "Structural problems in the Danish fishing industry , : Institutional and socio-economic factors as barriers to adjustment," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 349-359, September.
    14. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124-124.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lukas Schweiger, 2010. "The Evolution of the Common Fisheries Policy: Governance of a Common-Pool Resource in the Context of European Integration," Working Papers of the Vienna Institute for European integration research (EIF) 7, Institute for European integration research (EIF).
    2. Frank Jensen & Niels Vestergaard, 2000. "Moral Hazard Problems in Fisheries Regulation: The Case og Illegal Landings," Working Papers 9/00, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    3. Frank Jensen, 2001. "A Critical Review of the Fisheries Policy: Total Allowable Catches and Rations for Cod in the North Sea," Working Papers 16/01, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.


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