Fishing for Change in EU Governance - Excursions into the Evolution of the Common Fisheries Policy


Overall fish stocks in EU waters have not been in a good shape for the last 20 years or so. Today 88 % of the EU fish stocks are overfished - compared with an average of 25 % globally. The EU has continuously tried to reform (particularly in 1992/93 and 2002/03) or incrementally adapt the legal framework of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to solve the problems, but these efforts have - as evidenced by the numbers - been insufficient. Lately the Commission of the European Communities (Commission) has acknowledged that even the latest reform in 2002/03 - to which high hopes were attached - has, in effect, been unable to reverse the trend to the extent necessary.
This PhD project sets out to explore whether and how the CFP is in transition or reorienting towards new modes of governance – understood as alternatives to traditional, pre-2002 governance under the CFP – as well as the possible implications of this development. By doing so, PhD project aims to contribute both to the understanding of the different shapes that new modes of governance in the EU can take in practice, as well as to the knowledge of new modes of governance and its usefulness specifically in the context of the CFP.
The overall aims of the PhD project are, consequently, 1) to investigate selected elements of CFP governance to determine if these elements qualify as new modes of governance or if, rather, they represent variations of ‘more of the same’, and 2) to discuss the usefulness of new modes of governance in respect to improving the performance of the CFP with reference to the investigated elements. To deliver on these aims, the PhD project provide analyses of selected elements of governance (or potential elements) of three different periods of the CFP: 1) the past (the period before the 2002 reform); 2) the present (the period after the 2002 reform but before the 2012 reform); and 3) the future (the period to come after the 2012 reform).
The research conducted under this project, as well as the conclusions arrived at, is expected to be broadly relevant to the actors and institutions active in the policy process leading up to the upcoming reform of the CFP in 2012/13.
Effective start/end date01/11/200831/10/2011


  • CFP (Common Fisheries Policy)
  • Fisheries
  • Governance
  • Reform
  • Overfishing
  • New modes of governance
  • EU Governance