The EU Regulation (1005/2008) on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing came into force in January (Food Manufacture, February, p12).
The law aims to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by making it more difficult for illegally caught fish to enter the EU. All imports of fish and fish products caught after January 1 2010 must carry a certificate stating that the fish has been caught legally. These certificates have to be validated by the competent authorities in the flag state of the fishing vessel.
Most imported fish so far has been caught before January 1, 2010, so does not require such certification. But to aid clearance it should come with a statement confirming its catch date. However, 2010 imports have started arriving with few problems. Concerns of a 'paper tsunami' appear unfounded.
One issue concerns notification. Third countries trading fisheries products with the EU are required to notify the European Commission (EC) of these competent authorities.
There were concerns about countries that have yet to notify the EC of competent authorities that exported major amounts of seafood (including aquaculture, wild capture, fresh water, ambient and live) to the UK in 2008. The largest was the Russian Federation at £38M of exports. But Russia joined the approved list on February 19.
When the Seafish Importers Group met last month most agreed that the UK had been prepared, data flow had been good and importers and processors well briefed. If all continue to show diligence, this is a step in the right direction.
National Accounts Manager