Catch certificates for non-EU imports and exports of fish

How to prove your fish has been caught legally: forms and information you must include.

You need a catch certificate for marine caught fish for human consumption if you:

  • export fish to certain non-EU countries (UK catch certificate)
  • import fish into the EU from non-EU countries (EU catch certificate)
  • export fish caught by a UK fishing vessel to a non-EU country (for example, for processing) and it’s re-imported back to the EU

Catch certificates are issued by the country where the fishing vessel is registered (the flag state). They prove that fish have been caught legally and contain information about:

  • when the fishing took place
  • where the fishing took place
  • how much fish was caught

It’s an offence to import fishery products without a validated catch certificate – you can be prosecuted and fined up to £50,000.

When you don’t need a catch certificate

You don’t need a catch certificate for:

  • farmed fish and farmed shellfish
  • freshwater fish
  • some molluscs (including mussels, cockles, oysters, and scallops)
  • fish fry or larvae

Get a UK catch certificate to export fish from the UK

Complete a UK catch certificate application form (PDF, 173KB, 3 pages) to export fish to:

  • Iceland
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kuwait
  • Madagascar
  • Norway
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine

Catch certificates need to be validated by the UK illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catch certificate centre.

The catch certificate must include:

  • accurate weights of the fish actually exported out of the EU (not the total weight of the catch landed)
  • an accurate description of the fish
  • an EU tariff product code of 6 digits - find the right classification code in the trade tariff

If the consignment leaving the UK for a 3rd country has been sourced from more than one UK vessel then a Multiple vessel schedule (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 524KB) will need to be completed and submitted alongside the catch certificate as an annex.

When you don’t need a UK catch certificate

You don’t need a UK catch certificate:

  • to export fish to another EU country
  • to export outside the EU if the fish won’t be re-imported (apart from to the countries named above)

Get an EU catch certificate to import fish from outside the EU into the UK

You need a validated catch certificate from the flag state of the fishing vessel to import fish from non-EU countries into the EU.

You need an extra certificate if the fish have been processed or stored in a country that’s not the flag state.

Each country has its own form based on the template EU catch certificate form.

Catch certificates must:

  • be validated by the relevant authority from the country where the vessel is registered
  • contain all information included in the template
  • give accurate weights of the fish imported into the EU
  • give a 6-digit product code to identify the fish

Before the fish arrive

Before fish arrive on a fishing vessel from outside the EU, you must give original catch certificates to:

If you have Approved Economic Operator (APEO) status you must hold certificates but don’t need to present them when importing.


UK llegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catch certificate centre


Telephone: 0300 123 1032

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Fax: 0207 238 5147


Telephone: 0345 933 5577

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 27 June 2017 + show all updates
  1. PDF updated
  2. IUU Catch Certificate updated
  3. Multiple vessel schedule template added
  4. First published.