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What Is The Legal Basis

Council Regulation 1005/2008 (as amended) is the main piece of European law that introduces the controls; other legislation has also be implemented providing more detail about the regulations are applied.

The EC Regulations are implemented into law in England by The Sea Fishing (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing) Order 2009.  More information on IUU can be found at

What Products Fall Into This Category

The Regulation applies to fishery products that are covered by 1603, 1604 and 1605 of the Customs Trade Tariff.  Freshwater and farmed (aquaculture) fish are all out of scope of the Regulation as are marine fish imported for ornamental purposes.

Commission Regulation 202/2011 identifies some exclusions, this includes clams and other bivalve molluscs.  Shrimps, prawns and squid all require a catch certificate along with scampi (unless freshwater). 

There are no other exemptions to the Regulations for imports of samples (i.e. all imports need a certificate).

Composite Products
Products made up of fish and other ingredients may be covered by the Regulation.   If the composition of the product contains is a fish content of over 50% then it will almost certainly come under the import rules.  Where there is less than 50%, but fish is the main ingredient, then this will also require checks.

What Documentation Do I Require

Catch Certificate
Fish caught and imported into the EU from a non-EU country must have a validated catch certificate to show the catch is legal. The catch certificate must be validated by the relevant authority in the flag state of the catching vessel (the country where the vessel is registered). The catch certificate must remain with the fish throughout the supply chain and is required on entry to the EU.

Imports without a Catch Certificate cannot enter the UK.  The catch certificate is established in Annex II of Regulation 1005/2008.

As with all imports of POAO a CVED, Health Certificate and other required documentation should also be submitted to the Authority.

Pre Notifying And Payment To The Authority

Pre notification
A requirement of the legislation is that importers notify Port Health of the intended arrival of the consignment three days before it is landed.

There is a charge to cover the cost of official checks and this must be paid before the consignment is released into free circulation.

What Official Checks Are Carried Out On My Consignment

Documentary Check
The documentary check is the assessment of the Catch Certificate and accompanying commercial documentation, which may include bills of lading, invoices and packing lists.  100% of consignments are subject to documentary checks.

Identity Check
100% consignments are also subject to identity checks which involves the verification that the product, health marks, stamps and other necessary product and or package information conforms to the declaration on the health certificates and accompanying documentation.

Physical Check
There is no prescribed rate for the carrying out of physical checks for Catch Certificates; Commission Decision 94/360/EC prescribes the level of physical checks for certain products of animal origin.

However, if there is an identified discrepancy between the submitted certification and any accompanying documentation, a more detailed assessment of the product and packaging may be carried out.

Completion Of Official Checks

Satisfactory Checks
Completion of satisfactory official checks will allow for the product to be released into free circulation within the European Community.

In order to secure the release of the consignment by HMRC the importer/agent will need to submit a copy of the completed catch certificate OR a copy of the release fax as proof that the checks have been carried out.

Unsatisfactory Checks
If your products fail any of the import conditions they may be re-exported to a country outside of the EU.  If the consignment is deemed to be a risk to human/animal health, or where there is a failure to re-export the product following failure of checks, the consignment will be sent for destruction by incineration.

All costs for destruction are to be met by the person responsible for the consignment.