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Prices for Fish

box of fishCommon Organisation of the Markets

The new Common Market Organisation (CMO) Regulation EU No. 1379/2013 came into force in 2014. (This Regulation repeals Council Regulation No. 104/2000.) Articles 33 and 34 seek to establish common marketing standards in sea fish (and aquaculture) including mandatory consumer (labelling) information and to support the objectives of the new Common Fisheries Policy Regulation No. 1380/2013.

The new regulation abolishes the "withdrawal price system" which existed under the previous regulation, and which paid fishermen for fish withdrawn from sale where it fell below a minimum price. Instead it provides for a system of storage aid during a temporary transitional period (up to the end of 2018) where fish producer organisations (POs) may, subject to certain conditions, be given financial assistance by Marine Scotland via the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). This allows for the storage (freezing) of products for human consumption if the market price of their members' fish drops below a minimum price agreed with the PO at the start of the year.

POs play a central role in the new regulation, as they did previously. However, under this new regulation they are given a wider range of new objectives, including discard reduction, improving traceability and detecting illegal fishing: these are in addition to the principal role envisaged for them under the previous regulation, namely co-ordinating the supply of fish to markets and increasing economic returns to member vessels.

Until 2014, POs were required to submit annual Operational Programmes to Marine Scotland comprising, for example, a marketing strategy and catch plan for the year ahead, together with a review of the previous year. Under the new CMO Regulation the Operational Programme was replaced by the Production and Marketing Plan (P & MP) (see Commission Implementing Regulation [EU] No. 1418/2013). Marine Scotland has consulted Scottish POs and agreed a common format and structure for P & MPs from 2015.

Production and Marketing Plans are due to be submitted by the end of February each quota year (01 January - 31 December) and, if Marine Scotland is satisfied that a plan aims to achieve the relevant objectives set out in the CMO Regulation, it will approve the plan. A copy of each Scottish PO's latest P & MP is now available.