Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing

Unauthorised fishing and all fishing activities that are a serious breach of national, regional or international rules or laws are termed Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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.


For more information about IUU fishing, please contact Ivan Bartolo.