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Networked Enforcement in the Common Fisheries Policy through Data Sharing: Is There Room Left for Traditional Accountability Paradigms?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 September 2019

Federica Cacciatore, Tuscia University, email:; Mariolina Eliantonio, Maastricht University, email:


The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is one of the ever-increasing policy areas that have witnessed the creation of forms of “networked enforcement”, meaning enforcement structures in which several national and EU authorities cooperate. Amongst those are a number of legal requirements and applications for sharing data on fisheries between national and European competent authorities. This form of networked enforcement casts some questions as regards the existence of corresponding accountability mechanisms, which serve to legitimate the enforcement activities in the CFP. The aim of this paper is to examine the networked enforcement mechanisms arising from the CFP, with a special focus on the data-sharing activities and the role of European Fisheries Control Agency as pivotal to the cooperation between national authorities, with a view to assessing the gaps of accountability arising from them, and analysing the possible alternative ways to provide the enforcement phase with legitimacy.

Symposium on Institutional Innovations in the Enforcement of EU Law and Policies
© Cambridge University Press 2019 

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The authors wish to thank Francesco Spera for his research support. This article is a result of a common undertaking. However, sections II and IV can be directly attributed to Federica Cacciatore; sections III and V can be directly attributed to Mariolina Eliantonio; finally, section I, “Introduction” and section VI, “Conclusions”, contain common reflections.


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44 Equipment Identity Register (EIR) helps operators to protect their networks and revenues against the use of stolen and unauthorised devices.

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55 In Italy, the competent authority in charge of the application of Regulation no 1224/2009 is, pursuant to Legislative Decree no 4/2012, the Ministry of agriculture, food and forestry, with its Directorate General for Fisheries and Aquaculture. Control and inspection activities are carried out by the national Harbour masters, through the territorial partition into maritime districts, under the authority of the Ministry. Other central and local maritime authorities then support the General commander, which coordinates the activities: the Coast Guard, the Navy and the Carabinieri, all headed by the Ministry of Defence; the national police, belonging to the Ministry of Interior; the finance police, headed by the Ministry of Finance; and, finally, the Ministry of Health, as regards veterinary issues.

56 Arrêté du 30 décembre 2017 portant organisation et attributions de la direction des pêches maritimes et de l’aquaculture, Official Journal of the French Republic, 31 December 2017, no 305.

57 In France, the competent authority in charge of fisheries management is the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, with its Directorate of Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture. Control and inspection activities are carried out, on the basis of national and regional plans, by a number of local authorities, depending on their respective area of competence and on the nature of the controls themselves. The list of the competent authorities, both for administrative and judicial controls, is given in the Rural and Maritime Fisheries Code. In practice, most of the controls are conducted by the maritime affairs administration, the Navy, and the national and maritime gendarmerie. See further the consolidated version of the Rural and Maritime Fisheries Code available at <>.

58 The Fund was established by Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund [2014], OJ L 149/1. See <>.

59 For Italy: Programma operativo del FEAMP, available at <>. For France: Programme Operationnel Période 2014-2020, available at <>.

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61 Hofmann, H, and Tidghi, M, “Rights and Remedies in Implementation of EU Policies by Multi-Jurisdictional Networks” (2014) 20 European Public Law 154 Google Scholar. See also Eliantonio, M, “Judicial Review in an Integrated Administration: the Case of ‘Composite Procedures’” (2014) 7 Review of European Administrative Law 65 Google Scholar and specifically on data sharing activities, M Eliantonio, “Information Exchange in European Administrative Law: A Threat to Effective Judicial Protection?” (2016) 23 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 531.

62 Case 22/70 Commission v Council (ERTA) ECLI:EU:C:1971:32, para 42.

63 Case C-521/04 P(R) Tillack v Commission ECLI:EU:C:2005:240. See, however, Joined Cases F-5/05 and F-7/05 Violetti and Others v Commission, ECLI:EU:F:2009:39, where a claim against the forwarding of information from OLAF to the Italian authorities was considered as a reviewable act by the Civil Service Tribunal. The ruling was, however, overturned on appeal by the General Court on the basis of the IBM case law. Case T-261/09 P [GC] Commission v Violetti and Others, ECLI:EU:T:2010:215.

64 Case C-322/88 Grimaldi v Fonds des maladies professionnelles ECLI:EU:C:1989:646, para 8; Case T-193/04 Tillack v Commission ECLI:EU:T:2006:292, para 80.

65 Although this does not seem to have ever occurred, according to a search for the keyword “EFCA” in the Curia database.

66 Case T-193/04 Tillack v Commission, para 80.

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69 For France, see eg Conseil d’Etat 29 July 1994, no 140976, Assoc. pour la promotion et la défense du cadre de vie à Bartenheim; for Italy, see eg Consiglio di Stato, sez. IV, 28 March 2012, no 1829.

70 Opinion of AG Bobek in Case C-557/16 Astellas Pharma GmbH ECLI:EU:C:2017:957, para 92.

71 Conseil d’Etat, 9 June 1999, no 190384, Forabosco. See also Conseil d’Etat, 23 May 2003, no 237934, Catrina.

72 See further the reflections contained in Eliantonio (2014), supra, note 61, and Eliantonio (2016), supra, note 61.

73 Cacciatore and Eliantonio, supra, note 24.