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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).


IUU Regulation

IUU main implementing regulation

EU IUU vessel list

List of excluded products – Annex I of the IUU regulation

29 MAY 2024
Overview of IUU procedures
10 FEBRUARY 2021
Summary of the main provisions of the IUU Regulation including detailed description of the catch certification scheme and notification process
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”)
25 MARCH 2022
Frequently asked questions on the practical application of the UK IUU Regulation
22 MAY 2024
Frequently asked questions, what is new in the EU CATCH certification scheme after the amendment of the EU IUU regulation



Flag State notification

List of designated ports in the EU

List of competent authorities in EU countries

List of competent authorities third countries

10 FEBRUARY 2021
List of third countries requesting a catch certificate (Article 15)

Additional information

11 MARCH 2024
LIst of approved economic operators (APEO)
10 FEBRUARY 2021
Pacific salmon and other anadromous species
10 FEBRUARY 2021
Requirements for catches stemming from the Caspian Sea
10 FEBRUARY 2021
IUU implementation privacy statement


Tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
Factsheet8 June 2021
Tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing