|The Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) is a European Union body established in 2005 to organise operational coordination of fisheries control and inspection activities by the Member States and to assist them to cooperate so as to comply with the rules of the Common EU Fisheries Policy in order to ensure its effective and uniform application. The Agency's mission is to promote the highest common standards for control, inspection and surveillance under the Common Fisheries Policy. The CFCA will function at the highest level of excellence and transparency with a view to developing the necessary confidence and cooperation of all parties involved and, in so doing, to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of its operations. European Union governments agreed to establish the Agency in the 2002 reform as part of the drive to instil a culture of compliance within the fisheries sector across Europe. In April 2005, they adopted the necessary legislation with the Council Regulation 768/2005. Its primary role is to organise coordination and cooperation between national control and inspection activities so that the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy are respected and applied effectively.
The primary role of the CFCA is to ensure uniform and effective application of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy by the Member States by organising operational cooperation between Member States, assisting the Community and Member States in their relations with third countries and Regional Fisheries Managament Organisations (RFMOs) and ensuring dialogue with stakeholders, in particular through the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs). The added value of the work of the Agency lies in its contribution to a European wide level playing field for the fishing industry so that European obligations are observed by everyone and that everyone in the sector is treated equally, wherever they might be operating. Secondly, it contributes towards sustainable fisheries by enhancing compliance with existing conservation and management measures to the benefit of present and future generations. In order to achieve these objectives, the two main strategic axes of the mid-term strategy of the CFCA are the operational coordination of joint deployment of pooled national resources through the adoption of Joint Deployment Plans (JDP) in priority areas (Blue fin tuna in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic, Cod in the North and Baltic Seas, and the regulated species in the NAFO/NEAFC R.A.) and building capacities in Member States to apply the rules of the CFP in uniform way through common training programmes for national fisheries inspectors, facilitating the pooling of data on fishing activities and control, setting up of remote operational coordination facilities and supporting the pooling of means.
Belgium is involved in the Joint Deployment Plan (JDP) for the North Sea and Western Waters (http://cfca.europa.eu/pages/home/jdp_north.htm). It pools resources (inspectors, control vessels, aircraft, etc), from seven coastal Member States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and uses them to ensure more effective and uniform control of fishing activities. Member States concentrate their inspections and surveillance activities on fishing vessels using gear types that are likely to catch cod, either as a targeted fishery or as by-catch. Such actions are undertaken on the basis of risk analysis. There are also inspections of transport and marketing of cod. Inspection teams consist of Community Fishery Inspectors from different nationalities; the inspection vessels and surveillance aircraft are pooled from different Member States. Inspection vessels are able to enter the fishing zones of other Member States to carry out inspections on board all fishing vessels present. The CFCA oversees the implementation of the JDP in close collaboration with the contact persons of the Member States concerned. Member States take turns to be responsible for the running of joint campaigns; for this purpose, they establish a Coordination Centre in Charge, to which the Coordinators of the Agency give on-the-spot assistance in order to deploy the available assets in the most efficient way. This centre is assisted by other coordination centres in the participating Member States. Before the introduction of JDPs, there was some limited cooperation between certain Member States bordering the North Sea.