IUU Catch Certificates

What you need to know about importing fish into the UK
Fishing Regulations

​​​​​​​You need to prove that your catch is legal and safe for consumption when importing fish into the UK. But how, when, and why do you need an IUU Catch Certificate (IUUCC)? Find out in this article.

Why do you need an IUU Catch Certificate?

An Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Catch Certificate is a document that is provided to health authorities to confirm the shipment is legal and safe to import. In the UK, an IUUCC must be presented to the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) during import.

The reason the industry is tightly regulated is because illegal fishing has a devastating effect on communities, economies, and the environment. Fishing communities rely on the trade for income, and the population of fish must be controlled to sustain their livelihoods and the food source.

IUU Catch Certificates are provided by the authority that oversees the area or the vessel, ensuring that quotas are not exhausted, and that vessels are reporting the correct values for catches.

What information is included on an IUU Catch Certificates?

IUU Catch Certificates must include the following information:

  • Vessel name, flag, and licence number.
  • Date of catch.
  • The name of the validating authority.
  • Description of catch: species, commodity code, Estimated net weight.
  • Type of fish processing allowed on board.

(Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be other requirements based on your type of fish and trade lane. Contact a customs consultant for more information.)

When do you need to present an IUU Catch Certificate in the UK?

You need an IUU Catch Certificate in the UK when you are exporting to or importing fish from the EU, EEA, or EFTA. The only exception is when importing fish from the Republic of Ireland. However, you may still need an Export Health Certificate and an IUUCC when exporting to the ROI.

When importing fish into the UK, the details of the IUUCC must be included in your pre-notification on the Import of Products of Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) no more than:

  • 72 hours ahead of an ocean freight arrival.
  • Four hours before rail arrival.
  • Two hours ahead of arrival by road.

All IUUCCs require document and shipment identity verification, and your shipment may also be randomly selected for physical examination. The charges associated with these checks vary across different ports and modes of transport.

What about importing fish from non-EU countries?

Fish imports from countries outside of the EU, EEA, and EFTA are still subject to checks, but these are completed using veterinary certificates.

Even though IUU Catch Certificates are not required from all non-EU countries, note that trade sanctions are in place for countries where they have not agreed to regulate their fishing in a sustainable way. For example, you cannot import fish when the vessel is from Comoros, Cambodia or Saint Vincent or the Grenadines.

Looking to import fish into the UK?

Customs Support help businesses like yours remain compliant when importing fish into the UK or EU. Our declarants provide import clearance for all sea and air ports in the UK, proactively liaising with port health authorities to ensure your fish can be delivered as quickly as possible. Contact one of our experts for more information.