Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

In order to tackle the global problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (“IUU”) fishing Council Regulation (EC) 1005/2008 was passed. This Regulation came into force on 1 January 2010.

Application of the Regulation

The Regulation applied to all illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and associated activities carried out within the territory of the Member States, within Community waters, within maritime waters under the jurisdiction or sovereignty of third countries and on the high seas.

Inspection of third country fishing vessels in Member States ports

The Regulation requires Member States to carry out an effective scheme of inspections in their ports for third country fishing vessels and prohibit third county fishing vessels to use their ports unless they meet certain criteria.

Member States are obliged to inspect at least 5% of all landing and transhipment operations by third country fishing vessels each year. Certain fishing vessels must be inspected in all cases.

If, following an inspection, a fishing vessel is suspected as having been involved in illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing, the inspector is required to record the suspected infringement, ensure that all evidence relating to the suspected infringement is preserved and report the matter to the competent authority. If the competent authority is satisfied that the fishing vessel has been involved in illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing it is not allowed to authorise the vessel to land or tranship its catch and must inform the Commission and the competent authority of the flag State of the vessel. Where appropriate, it should also inform the Executive Secretary of the regional fisheries management organisation in whose area the catch was made.

Where a suspected breach has taken place in the high seas the Member State is required to cooperate with the flag State in carrying out an investigation into the suspected breach and, where appropriate, is required to apply the sanctions provided for by the legislation of that Member State.

Where a suspected breach has taken place in the maritime waters of a third country the Member State is required to cooperate with the coastal State in carrying out an investigation into the suspected breach and, where appropriate, is required to apply the sanctions provided for by the legislation of that Member State.

Designated ports

The Regulation requires Member States to designate ports, or places close to the shore, for permitted third country fishing vessels to use.

Notice requirements for third country fishing vessels

Masters of third country fishing vessels or their representatives are required to give at least three working days notice of their wish to use a designated port or landing place.

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For more information on:

  • Authorisation of third country fishing vessels
  • Records
  • Catch certificates
  • Verifications
  • Community alert system
  • Enquiries relating to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
  • Responsibilities of Nationals
  • Enforcement