All fishing vessels flying the flag of an EU member state must be registered. The EU Fleet Register database is managed by the European Commission and is a compilation of information on the EU fleets. The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) aims for sustainable levels of fishing for all stocks by 2020. The EU Fleet register is a necessary tool to manage the balance between fishing capacity and opportunities in line with the CFP. It is also a useful tool for fleet monitoring and control. Information provided includes, for example, the name of the vessel and the vessel owner, its length and tonnage, and the gear it uses.
Under the new eegulation, when member states introduce a change (entry or exit of a vessel, change of a data) in their national fishing fleet register, they must also submit it to the Commission on the same day. In addition the Commission may, at any time, request a 'snapshot' – an overview of changes – from any member state. This replaces the previous system, whereby member states had to transmit such snapshots four times a year. If the content of the snapshot is unreadable, incomplete, inaccurate or unreliable, the Commission rejects the snapshot and notifies the member state in question. The member state then has three working days to make the necessary changes in the national register.
The new regulation enters into force on 1 February 2018, and applies to all commercial fishing vessels, except aquaculture vessels and blue fin tuna traps.