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What is the most appropriate size for fisheries areas?

The EFF Regulation allows considerable flexibility in both the size and definition of fisheries areas. It says that the “areas must be limited in size and, as a general rule, smaller than NUTS 3” (Article 43.3).  In addition “The priority areas should either have a low population density or fishing in decline or small fisheries communities” (Article 43.4).
Within these limits there is no ‘one size fits all’ rule, and Member States are given the responsibility of deciding on the most appropriate areas. Importantly, the Regulation adds later that “The area must also be sufficiently coherent and have sufficient critical mass in terms of human, financial and economic resources to support a viable local development strategy” (Article 45.3).
In other words, the size of the area and its boundaries should be appropriate to the aims of the strategy developed by the partnership at local level – neither so big that it dilutes the impact of Axis 4 nor so small to that it is not viable.