Detailed guide: Catch certificates for non-EU imports and exports of fish

Marine Management Organisation

October 21
08:38 2019

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Catch certificates

You may need a catch certificate for marine-caught fish for human consumption.

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

Its an offence to import fishery products without a validated catch certificate you can be prosecuted and fined up to 50,000.

UK catch certificate

You need a UK catch certificate for fish caught by a UK-flagged vessel exported to:

  • Iceland
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kuwait
  • Madagascar
  • Norway
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • a non-EU country (for example, for processing) and its then exported back into the EU

Applications for a UK catch certificate are checked and validated by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

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
  • a 6-digit EU tariff product code - find the right classification code

If the consignment leaving the UK for a third country has been sourced from more than one UK vessel, you must complete a Multiple vessel schedule (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 524KB).

When you do not need a UK catch certificate

You do not need a UK catch certificate for:

  • farmed fish and farmed shellfish
  • freshwater fish
  • some molluscs (including mussels, cockles, oysters and scallops)
  • fish fry or larvae
  • exports of marine fishery products leaving the EU and not returning (apart from to these countries
  • exports to another EU country

Get an EU catch certificate to import fish 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 thats 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

For fishery products exported from outside the EU and imported into the Community please send catch certificates to:

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


UK Catch Certificate Centre


Telephone: 0300 123 1032

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm


Telephone: 0345 933 5577

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 21 October 2019 +show all updates
  1. Brexit update
  2. Updated in line with Brexit guidance
  3. Text and PDF updated
  4. PDF updated
  5. IUU Catch Certificate updated
  6. Multiple vessel schedule template added
  7. First published.

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