Fisheries MEPs ask for transparent allocation of fishing quotas in EU countries 

Press Releases 
  • fishing quota distribution in EU countries is not transparent 
  • vessel size and historic catch levels are the main criteria 
  • need to use more environmental and social criteria 

The use of environmentally friendly fishing practices or contribution to local economy should be taken into account when distributing fishing quotas in EU countries, fisheries MEPs say.

Although Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requires EU countries to use transparent and objective criteria for the distribution of fishing opportunities, MEPs stress that only few EU member states use environmental, social or economic criteria to distribute fishing quotas to their fishers and producer organisations.


Beyond historic criteria

MEPs on the Fisheries committee note that historic catch levels are currently the most common criteria applied by EU countries to distribute fishing opportunities. They acknowledge that such criteria offer economic stability in the fishing sector, but can also reinforce negative trends such as economic concentration. Fisheries MEPs emphasize that other criteria should also be taken into account, such as, the use of environmentally friendly fishing practices with reduced energy consumption or habitat damage, operator’s history of compliance or contribution to the local economy. They can contribute to restoration of fish populations and improve biodiversity, fisheries MEPs add.

Fisheries committee also encourages EU countries to guarantee a fair distribution of quota between the different fleet segments, taking into account the needs of all fishers, with a particular emphasis on young and small-scale fishers.


Lack of transparency

Fisheries MEPs recognise the lack of transparency in the process of fishing quota allocations. Only two countries, Denmark and Estonia, have public quota registers, they say, adding that transparent allocation of fishing quotas would improve predictability for fishers, provide equal chances for all interested parties and better scrutiny.

The resolution calls on the Commission to produce a report on how each EU country distributes fishing opportunities and ensure that all member states use appropriate combination of environmental, social and economic criteria to allocate their fishing rights in line with CFP objectives.


Next steps

The draft resolution on the implementation of Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation, drafted by EP rapporteur Caroline Roose (Greens, FR), was adopted by 18 votes to 7 and 2 abstentions on Wednesday. It now needs to be voted on by the full house of the Parliament during the June session.



Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy asks member states to use transparent and objective criteria, including those of an environmental, social and economic nature, for the distribution of fishing quotas within member states. However, according to fisheries MEPs, most EU countries did not change their allocation methods in response to this CFP requirement.