Fisheries policy, which the Treaty of Rome initially made part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CFP) by placing fishery products, products of the soil and stock-farming products in the same basket, became a fully-fledged common policy in 1983. It no longer has much in common with the CAP, apart from the fact that it makes use of instruments of market organisation comparable to those of the CAP. Although the fishery sector does not carry the same weight in the Gross Domestic Product and does not employ as many people as agriculture, the establishment of a common policy required just as much effort as the Common Agricultural Policy.
The fishery resources policy, which embraces both internal and external policy, was the most troublesome to put into practice. It is the forum for such thorny questions as total allowable catch (TAC), the sharing out of TAC between the Member States (quotas) and access of the vessels from one Member State to the territorial waters of the others. Resources policy also has to cope with difficult negotiations with third countries to settle questions of access for European vessels to their waters and vice versa. Although this kingpin of the common fisheries policy is analysed first, it was the last arrival on the fisheries scene.
The origins of the two other pillars of the CFP date back to 1970. The common organisation of markets has clearly covered a great deal of ground since then and its reform, in 1981, opened the door to the final compromise on fisheries. Structural policy, for its part, has been torn by national differences on the question of resource conservation. For many years it was restricted to interim measures and was only firmly established with the agreement on resources, reached in January 1983.
To facilitate the management and development of the common fisheries policy, the Commission has established a permanent dialogue with professional and non-professional organisations (consumers, environment and development) inside the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture [Decision 1999/478]. Advisory Councils established for each of the geographical areas or fields of competence enable the CFP to benefit from the knowledge and experience of all stakeholders [Regulation 1380/2013, last amended by Regulation 2015/812, see section 22.2.2].