Policy Unit

Policy Unit

The European Union (EU) has 1,200 ports and the largest merchant fleet in the world. 90% of EU external trade and 40% of its internal trade occurs at sea. The EU maritime policy integrates broad aspects such as fishing, employment, transport, research, environment, energy and tourism.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) supports the management of fisheries and aquaculture and utilise Articles 38-43 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as its framework. The main objective of the CFP is to ensure that fishing is managed sustainably and to mitigate less efficient fishing practices. Another objective of the CFP is to safeguard and enhance the employment in the fisheries sector. The most recent reform of the CFP came into force in January 2014.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA) ensures that Malta and its fisheries sector comply with the rules and regulations established under the Common Fisheries Policy. The Policy Unit has the role to coordinate and facilitate the analysis of new regulations proposed by the European Commission and for carrying out reporting for the purpose of data collection, analysis and coordination from DG MARE.  DFA performs public consultations on crucial areas, such as the establishment of management plans for various fisheries, with interested entities and stakeholders, to ensure that the needs of all those involved are met.  The DFA’s position regarding the proposals for new regulations of the Commission is shared with representatives of other Member States at the European Council meetings that are organized by the Commission and are presided by a Member State that holds the Presidency for the period of  every six months.

During the period from January till June 2017, Malta assumed the responsibility to preside over the European Council meetings. During its Presidency, the Policy Unit supported Malta’s representation during the Fisheries Working Parties of the European Council. The main priorities of Malta have been to establish a level playing field for all EU fishers and to prioritize artisanal fishers that are considered as one of the most sustainable within the fishing sector. The Policy Unit has worked on a number of proposals that included important revisions in the regulation of technical measures of fisheries and the framework of data collection.

During the discussions at EU level, while Malta acknowledges the need to safeguard the environment, it always prioritizes the importance of the fishing sector that provides fresh local products to our communities. This is reflected in discussions with the EU Commission regarding proposals that will affect our fishing sector.  ​