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22.4.  Structural aspects of the common fisheries policy

    The fishery sector is at least as vulnerable as agriculture. Production depends on several factors that cannot be controlled by producers: weather, water pollution, delimitation of fishing zones. The sea-fishing sector, which makes up the bulk of the fishing industry, has a highly specific social structure and arduous living and working conditions. Fishing is moreover often economically vital in certain coastal regions without other economic resources and it is a major breadwinner for the people living in these regions. This is why the common organisation of the fishery market must be accompanied by a common structural policy. This fact was recognised in 1970, which saw the combined adoption of the Regulation establishing a common structural policy and that of the Regulation creating a common organisation of the market for the fishery products sector.

    Acknowledging that all matters related to Europe’s oceans and seas are interlinked, the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) supports both the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the development of the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) [Regulation 508/2014, last amended by Regulation 2015/895, see section 12.3]. The EMFF contributes, in particular, to the achievement of the following objectives: promoting competitive, environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially responsible fisheries and aquaculture; fostering the implementation of the CFP; promoting a balanced and inclusive territorial development of fisheries and aquaculture areas; and fostering the development and implementation of the Union’s IMP in a manner complementary to cohesion policy and to the CFP.

    The objectives of the EMFF are pursued within the framework of close cooperation ("partnership") between the Commission and the Member States. This partnership concerns regional, local and other public authorities, as well as other appropriate bodies, including those responsible for the environment and for the promotion of equality between men and women, the economic and social partners and other competent bodies. The partners concerned should be involved in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of assistance. The EMFF provides assistance which complements national, regional and local actions, integrating into them the priorities of the European Union. The programming system takes the form of one single operational programme per Member State, in accordance with its national structure. Programming should ensure coordination of the EMFF with other funds geared to sustainable development and with the Structural Funds and other Union funds [see section 12.3]. The programming exercise covers the period from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020.

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