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European Fisheries Control Agency

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What is a European Union agency?

A European agency is a body of the European Union distinct from the EU institutions, such as the Council, Parliament and Commission, and it has its own legal personality. Each EU agency is established by the EU legislature in order to deal with a very specific technical, scientific or managerial task.

At present, there are over 40 established European Union agencies. The EFCA in Vigo is one of the European Union agencies, located in Spain.


Why has the EFCA been established?

In the framework of the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) in 2002, it was concluded that the CFP had been poorly implemented and that control measures were not systematically implemented by Member States. Fishermen felt as though they were not being treated on an equal footing when operating in European Union waters, and sometimes they even felt discriminated against. The fishing industry pleaded for reinforcement of control and enforcement arrangements in order to ensure a level playing field at the European Union level.

In fact, the European fishing industry felt that the European Union institutions should assume direct responsibility for the proper implementation of the CFP and establish European controls.

From an institutional point of view, the Commission should not carry out tasks in the place of Member States and did not have the means to do so. Therefore, it proposed to establish an agency independent from Member States and the Commission which should organise operational cooperation between Member States and coordinate the deployment of control means pooled by Member States. The agency, together with the national specialised services of the Member States, should ensure uniform and effective application of the rules of the CFP.


How is the EFCA organised?

The Administrative Board, in which each Member State nominates a member and the European Commission nominates six members including the chairman, adopts, each year, an annual work programme and the budget of the agency. The executive director, nominated by the board, inter alia, has to implement the annual work programme and budget, ensure the organisation and functioning of the agency, adopt  decisions concerning the responsibilities of the agency with respect to its mission and organise an effective monitoring system in order to be able to compare the agency’s achievements with its operational objectives. He or she is also the chairperson of the Advisory Board in which one representative of each advisory council is sitting. The Advisory Board elects one representative who may participate in the meetings of the Administrative Board without the right to vote.

The work programmes of the EFCA as well as its budget are published on its website.


Where do EFCA resources come from?

The budget of the EFCA (including the establishment plan of its staff) is authorised by the EU Budgetary Authority and is an integral part of the European Union budget. In the case where the EFCA provides contractual services to Member States, it receives the corresponding funding from those Member States concerned.


Why is the EFCA established in Vigo?

The seat was laid down in the Council regulation establishing the EFCA, in line with the agreement on the seats of agencies reached by the Heads of State or Government in December 2003.

Vigo is the biggest fishing port in Europe in terms of landings of fishery products. It is, therefore, a very appropriate place for the seat of the EFCA to be located.


How many persons are working at the EFCA?

There are 64 staff members and eight seconded national experts from 18 different EU Member States working at the EFCA.


How does EFCA cooperate/contribute to the EU Coast Guard function?

Amendments to their Founding Regulations published on 16 September 2016 establish that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) shall cooperate, each within their mandate, to support the national authorities carrying out coastguard functions.