Scope of the control system
Fisheries control is not just about checking the activities of fishers at sea, which is expensive and cannot alone ensure that the rules are respected. Checks are carried out at every point in the chain from the boat to the retailer.
Fishing vessels are not even allowed to leave port without a valid licence to fish.
Though checks at sea are still done, the focus is now on checks:
- in ports where fish is landed or transhipped
- during transport
- in factories that process fish
- at markets where fish is sold.
At every point along the production chain, for every consignment of fish, information must be provided that proves that the fish was caught legally.
Standards for all these different kinds of inspection are set at EU level.
The control system applies to all fishing activities in EU waters, and to all fishing carried out by EU fishing vessels and EU nationals, wherever they may fish. It also applies to recreational fishing on sensitive fish stocks and aquaculture in so far as they are covered by rules at EU level – for instance, to fishing for eel or to certain recreational fisheries for bluefin tuna.