Whilst fishing is well controlled in UK waters, with strict regulations such as the registration of buyers and sellers, on a world scale IUU fishing remains the biggest global threat to the sustainable management of fish stocks. A UK study estimated that IUU fishing costs the world between $10 billion and $24 billion each year - equivalent to nearly 20% of the value of legitimate and reported catches.
The EU is the largest importer of fishery products in the world and therefore a major target of IUU operators. It is estimated that around €1.1 billion of illegal fish products enter the Community each year. There has been international consensus over a number of years that strong action against IUU fishing needs to be taken.
The EU introduced a new regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate the import of IUU fishery products into the Community on 1 January 2010. This created new requirements on fish and fisheries products entering the EU market from third countries (non-EU). As a result all importers need to ensure the goods they import have been legally caught. As a minimum, the importer needs to ascertain that his export partner is able to provide the validated catch certificate for every consignment.