One of the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to guarantee the exploitation of living aquatic resources that creates sustainable conditions from an economic, environmental and social point of view. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is one of the most serious threats to the sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources and undermines the very foundation of the CFP and the efforts made internationally to promote better governance of the oceans.

IUU fishing is also a major threat to marine biodiversity, which needs to be tackled. In 2001, FAO approved an International Action Plan to Prevent, Prevent and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which the European Union subscribed to.

"Illegal fishing" means fishing activities:

  • exercised by national or foreign fishing vessels in maritime waters under the jurisdiction of a State, without the State's authorization or in violation of its laws and regulations
  • exercised by fishing vessels flying the flag of States Parties to a competent RFMO, but which operate in breach of the conservation and management measures adopted by that organization, binding on those States, or the relevant provisions of applicable international law; or
  • exercised by fishing vessels that contravene national laws or international obligations, including those contracted by States that cooperate with a competent regional fisheries management organization.

'Unreported fishing' means fishing activities:
  • that have not been declared, or have been misrepresented, to the competent national authority, in breach of national laws and regulations; or
  • exercised in the area of ??competence of a competent regional fisheries management organization that has not been declared, or has been misrepresented, in violation of the reporting procedures provided for by that organization.

"Unregulated fishing" means fishing activities:
  • exercised in the area of ??competence of a competent regional fisheries management organization by fishing vessels without nationality or flying the flag of a State that is not a Party to that organization or by any other fishing entity in a way that does not comply with or contrary to conservation measures and management of that organization; or
  • carried out by fishing vessels in areas or in relation to fish stocks for which there are no applicable conservation or management measures, in a manner incompatible with the State's responsibility for the conservation of resources under international law marine life.

In order to ensure the fight against IUU fishing, imports of IUU fishery products into the European Union are prohibited, so fishery products can only be imported into the Union if they are accompanied by a catch certificate issued by the competent authority of the Flag state of fishing vessel.

The DGRM, in the exercise of the powers of the National Fisheries Authority, and through the CCVP, analyzes all requests for imports of fishery products submitted by the importers, communicating to the Tax and Customs Authority (AT), as well as to the Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary (DGAV), the entry or refusal authorization.