Regulating the working of European fisheries, the Common Fishery Policy - CFP - constitutes one of the most effective areas of EU direct ruling. Yet, nowadays European fisheries experience a dramatic condition where alongside the decline of several fish stocks, the numerous incoherencies of the CFP accelerate the collapse of an economic sector central for the lives of European coastal communities. Within this controversial frame, this project argues for the development of a regional ecosystem-based governance of European fisheries with fishermen turned into vital resources for - rather than passive spectators of - the policy design process. I will do so by presenting evidences from a one-year-long field-study conducted in the two small-scale artisanal fishing communities of Fuerteventura and Lampedusa. The good practices example of the Gran Tarajal fishermen association - in Fuerteventura - will be then opposed to the case of Lampedusa. As the situation in the Spanish island shows it is locally where the knowledge and capabilities indispensable to develop and effective management of fish resources reside, independently from and often in contrast with EU regulations. On the other hand, the case of Lampedusa demonstrates instead as centrally developed rule frames combined with low control strategies, generate the conditions for the depleting of fish stocks and the contemporary disappearance of fishery.
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