Guidance

Export fish to the EU from 1 January 2021

How to export fish for human consumption from 1 January 2021, what documents you may need and customs rules to follow.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

There may be further implications for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Find out more about Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

To export fish to the EU after 1 January 2021, you’ll need to follow the same rules that are currently in place for exports of fish to some non-EU countries. You’ll need to create:

You may also need:

  • direct landing documents
  • a storage document if your product has been stored
  • a processing statement if your product has been processed

You’ll need to follow customs and border inspection requirements.

Customs requirements

You must comply with HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU.

These rules will apply to:

  • exports to the EU of fish caught by a UK flagged fishing vessel
  • exports to the EU of fish imported from another country that have been stored or processed in the UK
  • direct landings in EU ports by a UK flagged fishing vessel

Send fish to an EU border control post

You’ll need to send all consignments of fish and fishery products through an EU border control post (BCP) if the fish was both:

  • caught by a UK flagged vessel
  • imported into the UK and processed or stored
  • landed in the UK before being transported to the EU

Your EU importer must notify the BCP in advance of your arrival. Notification periods vary. Check with the BCP to find out how much notice you must give.

Fishery products entering the EU via Calais or Coquelles must travel to the BCP at Boulogne-sur-Mer under a Common Transit Convention (CTC) declaration submitted up to 72 hours in advance of arrival. Lorries arriving in Calais or Coquelles will be directed to the green corridor to go to the Boulogne-sur-Mer BCP, where checks will be carried out.

Check the HMRC guidance to find out how to move your goods using the Common Transit Convention.

Get an export health certificate

You’ll need an EHC for all exports of fish to the EU.

All exports of fishery products will need to be dispatched from an UK approved food establishment that has been listed by the EU. Find out how to become listed.

Send validated catch certificate to the importer

You must send the validated catch certificate to the importer so they can give them to the receiving country’s competent authority. You must do this for exports by:

  • sea: 72 hours before landing
  • air and rail: 4 hours before arriving
  • road: 2 hours before arriving

Storage document - for fish stored on the UK premises but not processed

If you’re exporting to the EU fish sourced from another country that have been stored on the UK premises for 12 hours or longer, but not processed in any way, you’ll need to create a storage document.

You must keep a copy of the catch certificate from the original consignment with the storage document.

Processing statement - for fish processed in the UK

If you’re exporting to the EU fish sourced from another country that has been processed in the UK, you’ll need to create a processing statement.

Include a copy of the catch certificate from the original consignment with the processing statement.

If you need help

There will be support available when the Fish Export Service goes live later in 2020.

For any queries before then, please email the UK Single Liaison Office mailbox.

Composite products

Products that contain no meat but contain 50% or more processed fishery product will need to:

  • have the relevant IUU document(s)
  • enter via a BCP and will be subject to veterinary checks
  • have an Export Health Certificate

Read the Export composite food products to the EU after 1 January 2021 guide to find out the rules you’ll need to follow.

Direct landing documents

To land your catch from your UK flagged fishing vessel directly in the EU, you’ll need to land in a North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) designated EU port.

Prior to landing, you’ll need to complete and submit a:

  • prior notification form
  • pre-landing declaration
  • catch certificate

Fishery enforcement officers may inspect your fish when you arrive.

Prior notification form

If you’re landing in an EU member state with

Regardless of which form you fill in, you must email them to your destination’s designated EU port before landing. You need to send it:

  • for frozen fish, at least 72 hours before landing - you can fill in the prior notification form before 1 January 2021 for any exports planned from 1 January
  • for fresh fish, at least 4 hours before landing

Pre-landing declaration

You’ll need to fill in a pre-landing declaration and email it to your destination’s designated EU port 4 hours before landing.

You’ll need to give details of the:

  • area fished
  • quantity of fish by species on board the vessel

Special requirements for UK approved fishing vessels

Local Authority approved freezer, reefer or factory vessels that land frozen or processed fish directly into the EU will also require:

  • a Captain’s Certificate signed by the Captain who is authorised by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) or DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs)
  • the fish to be landed into a Border Control Post (BCP) approved for the landed fishery product

‘Processing’ includes activities such as wrapping, mincing, freezing and filleting. Read about processing, presentation and marketing of fish.

Non-food approved registered vessels that land fresh fish directly into the EU at a NEAFC designated port will not require an Export Health Certificate or need to pass through a BCP.

They will still be subject to any normal official controls within the port. ‘Fresh fish’ may have undergone primary production, which may include de-heading or gutting.

North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) Port State Control forms

Speak to your licensing authority who can register your fishing vessel with NEAFC.

Once your vessel is registered, you’ll need to create an account to submit a NEAFC Port State Control form (PSC1 or PSC2) before landing.

Check with the NEAFC to find out how much notice you need to give before landing. This will vary depending on the country you’re exporting to and how your product is presented.

Published 10 September 2020

Transition period

Find out what it means for you