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Oceans and fisheries

Illegal fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, distorts competition, puts honest fishers at disadvantage, and weakens coastal communities, particularly in developing countries.

EU rules to combat IUU fishing

The EU is working to close the loopholes that allow operators to profit from IUU fishing activities.

The EU regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (in short: the IUU Regulation) entered into force on 1 January 2010.

The Commission is working actively with all stakeholders to ensure coherent application of the IUU Regulation.

Only marine fishery products accompanied by catch certificates validated by the competent flag state can be imported into the EU.

The EU regularly updates the IUU vessel list. It includes IUU vessels identified by regional fisheries management organisations.

The IUU Regulation can take steps against states turning a blind eye to illegal fishing activities: the Commission first issues a warning (yellow card), then if the country is still not complying, it will identify the country as non-cooperating. (the so-called red card) and place it in the list of non-cooperating countries. Fisheries products from the country in question will then be banned from the EU market (see the fact sheet below).

The IUU Regulation also applies to EU operators operating anywhere in the world and under any flag.

CATCH is the first IT tool to streamline checks and verifications of catch certificates for fishery products entering the EU market. The use of CATCH will become compulsory for EU operators and authorities for imports of fishery products as of 10 January 2026 through the most recent revision of the IUU Regulation (see Article 4 of the revised Fisheries Control).

In March 2023 the EU joined the IUU Fishing Action Alliance. The EU fully supports the main objectives of the Alliance through the IUU Regulation: internally with Member States by means of the EU Catch Certification Scheme and externally via IUU dialogues with third countries, actions on international ocean governance, maritime safety and labour conditions.

Documents

IUU Regulation

IUU main implementing regulation

EU IUU vessel list

List of excluded products – Annex I of the IUU regulation

17 NOVEMBER 2023
Overview of IUU procedures
English
(122.66 KB - PDF)
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10 FEBRUARY 2021
Summary of the main provisions of the IUU Regulation including detailed description of the catch certification scheme and notification process
English
(131.76 KB - PDF)
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2 MAY 2023
Frequently asked questions on the practical application of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (“IUU Regulation”)
English
(385.84 KB - PDF)
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25 MARCH 2022
Frequently asked questions on the practical application of the UK IUU Regulation
English
(355.28 KB - PDF)
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16 JANUARY 2024
Frequently asked questions, what is new in the EU CATCH certification scheme after the amendment of the EU IUU regulation
English
(188.35 KB - PDF)
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Notifications

Flag State notification

List of designated ports in the EU

List of competent authorities in EU countries

10 FEBRUARY 2021
List of third countries requesting a catch certificate (Article 15)
English
(68.02 KB - PDF)
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Additional information

10 FEBRUARY 2021
Pacific salmon and other anadromous species
English
(12.11 KB - PDF)
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10 FEBRUARY 2021
Requirements for catches stemming from the Caspian Sea
English
(7.99 KB - PDF)
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10 FEBRUARY 2021
IUU implementation privacy statement
English
(199.41 KB - PDF)
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Publications

Factsheet8 June 2021
Tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
Tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
English
(1.4 MB - PDF)
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Media