Chapter 10: Change for sustainability
The CFP was created as an adjunct to Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy and did no more than comply with the minimal requirements of the LOSC. That it started in such a fashion is, perhaps, unsurprising, but that it continues to the present day in the same largely unreconstructed form is, truly, quite extraordinary. Instead of instituting a user-based regime, the combination of the principles of sustainable exploitation and relative stability have led to the maximisation of fish catch being entrenched in CFP policy with little regard to the sustainability of resources, ecosystems or future interests. Exploitation under the CFP is ostensibly qualified by the requirement for sustainability. However, the application of the precautionary approach to determine sustainable exploitation has resulted in fishing up to the very boundary of overexploitation. No margin of error is tolerated as the industry exploits without regard for regeneration, frequently tipping the resource into unsustainability. This state has been permitted to continue even as the EU has proclaimed its commitment to sustainable development. Redressing the situation may seem impossible because the CFP has just undergone a major review wherein it was decided to retain the current principles of fishing. However, there are changes that can be instituted that would facilitate the move towards the sustainability the Union intends, and these require no amendment to the Basic Fisheries Regulation or any other legislative instrument.
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