Fishing in third country waters under Private Fishing Licenses (Direct Authorizations)

European Union vessels are required to comply with the so-called 'exclusivity clause' applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy.

This is a mechanism which, in practice, makes access to the waters of third countries with which the Union has concluded a fisheries agreement impossible. Hence, flag Member States may only authorize their vessels to operate under private fishing licenses in the absence of any fisheries agreement with that third country.

The activity under this instrument is provided for in Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017. In addition to the need to comply with this clause, the following requirements still apply: The ship fulfills the eligibility criteria defined in article 5 of that diploma;

The operator has supplied the following information:

  • "Copy or an accurate reference to the applicable fisheries legislation as made available to the operator by the third country whose sovereignty or jurisdiction covers the waters where the fishing activities take place";
  • A scientific evaluation demonstrating the sustainability of the planned fishing operations;
  • The number of a public and official bank account for the payment of all fees;
  • In the case of fishing operations directed at species managed by an RFMO, the third country must be a contracting party to that organization; and,
  • The operator has provided:
  • a fishing authorization valid for the fishing vessel concerned issued by a third country whose sovereignty or jurisdiction covers the waters where the fishing operations take place
  • a written confirmation, issued by the third country whose sovereignty or jurisdiction covers the waters where the fishing operations follow, as a result of discussions between the operator and that third country, of the terms of the direct authorization to give the operator access to its fishery resources, including duration, conditions and fishing opportunities expressed in terms of effort or catch limits.