The representation of European fishermen is still predominantly linked to national and local communities. The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), set up in 1970 to regulate ‘European’ fisheries has integrated this representation in its main rules. From the 1980s onwards, this territorial logic of the CFP has been challenged by free market rules. In particular, the freedom of establishment and the free movement of capital have enabled EU shipowners to purchase vessels and to use national quotas in other EU countries. British fishermen have called this phenomenon ‘quota hopping’. As a case study, quota hopping illustrates the contradictions which exist in the EU between the territorial logic of an economic sector and the process of deterritorialization induced by liberal market norms. The mobilization of local fishing communities and of national governments against the changes which the EC market has brought about are not without effect. States have to cope with economic actors – the quota hoppers – who are increasingly capable of bypassing protective national policies by using the Community's rules of law.