How to export fish for human consumption from 1 January 2021 and what documents you may need
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:
- an export health certificate, except for direct landings of fresh fish in EU ports from UK-flagged fishing vessels
- a catch certificate – you need to validate this and send it to your importer
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.
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. This will be available from 19 October 2020.
All exports of fishery products will need to be dispatched from an UK approved food establishment 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 on 16 November 2020.
For any queries before then, please contact theUK Single Liaison Office by emailing UKIUUSLO@marinemanagement.org.uk.
Composite fish products and those that use tariff codes starting 1604 or 1605 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
- exempt fisheries products only, you need to fill in a prior notification for exempt fisheries product form
- all other fisheries products, or a combination of exempt and non-exempt products, you need to complete this prior notification form
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
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 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 before landing.
For direct landings you’ll need to submit form PSC1
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.
Transhipments in EU ports
Transhipping is the process of transferring fish from one vessel to another while in port.
To tranship in EU ports, you’ll need to arrive in a designated EU NEAFC port. UK vessels will need to complete a:
- prior notification form
- Pre-transhipment declaration
- PSC2 form – create an account with NEAFC to create this form
It’s the responsibility of both vessel operators to complete these forms and submit to the EU competent authority 4 hours before arriving in the port.
You must wait for confirmation from the authority before you complete the transhipment.
Return rejected fish exports to GB
If your consignment of fish is rejected at an EU border control post(BCP), you may be able to return the goods to GB. This will depend on the reason it was rejected at the BCP.
The EU may reject or confiscate your fish export if:
- you did not provide catch certificates and related documents
- your documents have errors or are not accepted
- they failed health or identity checks
Fish products will only be accepted back to GB if they meet certain conditions.
Your fish may not be able to re-enter GB if a catch certificate was not sent by the exporter to the designated EU port in advance.
Speak to your customs representative and EU importer to find out if you can correct mistakes or supply further information to complete the export. The EU BCP will decide whether to accept your export.
To return your goods to GB, follow the returned goods policy for products of animal origin.