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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.

Documents

IUU Regulation

IUU main implementing regulation

Overview of IUU procedures
English
(234.76 KB - PDF)
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International cooperation in the fight against IUU fishing
English
(16.16 KB - PDF)
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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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Notifications

Flag State notification

List of third countries requesting a catch certificate (Article 15)
English
(68.02 KB - PDF)
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List of designated ports in the EU
English
(489.85 KB - PDF)
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List of competent authorities in EU countries
English
(523.83 KB - PDF)
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Additional information

Approved economic operators
English
(8.71 KB - PDF)
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Pacific salmon and other anadromous species
English
(12.11 KB - PDF)
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Requirements for catches stemming from the Caspian Sea
English
(7.99 KB - PDF)
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CATCH information note
English
(125.63 KB - PDF)
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IUU implementation privacy statement
English
(199.41 KB - PDF)
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Publications

Fiche d’information8 juin 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

Euronews Ocean: How the EU stamped down on decades of illegal fishing in Thailand. October 2019.

Euronews Ocean: How the EU stamped down on decades of illegal fishing in Thailand

The measures Thailand has now adopted to satisfy the EU range from new rules to vessel monitoring systems and a satellite-based system of tracking the movements of fishing boats.…