EU IUU FAQs

Note: The information in this document is subject to change and may be periodically updated.
Last Updated December 8, 2009

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General Information on the IUU Regulation
Covered Products
Procedures for Export Certification to the EU
Electronic Certification
Costs and Payments
Transshipment, Re-Export, and Foreign Processing Scenarios
Lobster Exports
 

General Information on the IUU Regulation

What is the new requirement in the IUU Regulation?
The European Commission (EC) adopted Regulation 1005/2008 ("the IUU Regulation") to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing on September 29, 2008 with an effective date of January 1, 2010. One of the core elements of the IUU Regulation is the new requirement that all wild caught seafood imports have a “catch certificate,” a document ensuring that all maritime fisheries products which are to be traded with the EU are obtained in compliance with existing conservation and management measures.

When does the IUU Regulation become effective?
The new Regulation becomes effective on January 1, 2010 and applies to seafood products harvested on or after January 1, 2010. Fish and shellfish harvested on or after January 1, 2010 must have a catch certificate issued by the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program before the product is shipped overseas. This new requirement is in addition to the existing EU requirement for a health certificate.

What has NOAA Fisheries been doing to meet the requirements of the IUU Regulation?
NOAA Fisheries consulted with the European Commission (EC) to develop a catch document tailored to the particular needs of the U.S. Government. This resulted in an Agreed Record of Consultations, signed November 6, 2009, which includes the catch certificate document that will be used for U.S. harvested fisheries products.

Will the U.S. Government be ready to fulfill its obligation by the effective date?
Yes, the NOAA Fisheries Seafood Inspection Program will issue catch documents that meet the EU requirements for products harvested on or after January 1, 2010.

Why is the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program the only U.S. government program that issues the EU catch document?
The NOAA Fisheries Service is the only competent authority recognized by the EU for issuance of both the health certificate and catch document. The NOAA Fisheries Service Seafood Inspection Program validates and issues both documents.

What if my product was caught in 2009 but not shipped until 2010?
Wild fishery products harvested before January 1, 2010 do not need a catch document. However, EU officials may require documentation to prove the product was caught before January 1, 2010 and thus is not subject to the IUU Regulation. Health certificates are still and will continue to be required.

How is the catch document different from the current EU health certificate? Why do I need both?
Certification is required by two separate EC directorates with distinct and separate responsibilities. The health certificate is required by the EU Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection and attests to the safety of fish and fishery products shipped to the EU. The catch document is required by the EU Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and attests that the items in the shipment were caught in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) and other applicable state and Federal conservation and management laws and regulations. Both are required under EU regulations.

Has the EC released more detailed implementing regulations for the IUU Regulation?
Yes, the EC released Commission Regulation (EC) No 1010/2009 of 22 October 2009 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The EC Regulation No 1010/2009 is available online at:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:280:0005:0041:EN:PDF

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Covered Products

Are only seafood products from non-EU nations covered by the IUU Regulation?
All seafood products entering the EU market, including products caught by EU-flagged vessels operating outside of the EU EEZ are covered by the requirements of the IUU Regulation. In addition, all exports from the EU to any third country will be subject to the IUU Regulation. EU Member States engaged in intra-EU trade are expected to supply the same data as required by the IUU Regulation as described in the amended EU Control Regime which was recently adopted.

Will all seafood exports to the EU be required to have a catch document?
No. Fishery products which fall under Chapter 03 and Tariff Headings 1604 and 1605 of the EU Harmonized System Tariff Code are covered with some exceptions listed below. 

The specific HS codes for exempted products have been published in Annex XIII of EC Regulation 1010/2009 which is appended to this document.

Is catch certification required for fishery products intended for animal feed or pet food?
A catch document is required if the products are included in Chapters 03, 1604, or 1605 of the EU Harmonized System Tariff Code (with the exception of the products listed in Annex XIII of EC 1010/2009). Fishmeal in Chapter 23 does NOT require a catch document.

Will catches from any U.S. flagged vessel, regardless of size (even small vessels), need a catch document for export to the EU?
Yes, all catches from U.S. flagged vessels will require a catch document for import into the EU. Article 6 of the EU Implementing Regulations provide for a simplified catch certificate for different classes of small boats. The U.S. catch document will be used for all size classes of U.S. flagged vessels.

Does the whole catch need to be noted in the catch document, even if only a part of it will be exported to the EU?
The catch document will only cover the product which will be exported to the EU, not the whole catch.

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Procedures for Export Certification to the EU

How and when is a request for an EU catch document submitted to the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program?
The request for an EU catch document should be made at the same time as the request for an EU health certificate, however, the EU health certificate and the catch document can be requested separately.

What do I do with the catch document?
Once you have received the signed catch document it must be forwarded to the EU importer in a timely manner to allow the importer to comply with his/her notification requirements as defined in the Implementing Regulations (EC Regulation 1010/2009).

The document must be transmitted by the EU importer to the EU Member State authority at least three working days prior to arrival in the EU for product shipped on vessels and four hours prior to arrival for product transported by air freight. The EU importer will be responsible for maintaining catch document records and making them available to his/her government officials. We advise industry to maintain copies of the catch documents for their own records.

Will a catch document be required by consignment or by vessel? Can multiple species be included for each catch document? How many?
A catch document will be required by consignment. Multiple species may be included for each catch document. If the number of species requested exceeds the limit of five, another document will be required and costs billed accordingly.

Is the catch document inspected at border inspection post upon arrival in the EU?
No; the catch document must be provided by the importer to the designated authority in the Member State according to their requirements, prior to product arrival. The EC published implementing regulations (EC Regulation 1010/2009) for Member States and importers on October 22, 2009.

Will trade be slowed or disrupted if my product does not have a catch document?
Trade of product for which valid documents are issued and transmitted in the prescribed timeframes should not be slowed or disrupted. The EU requires a document be issued before the product may be imported into the EU. It is within the rights of EU officials to inspect records to refuse importation of products if it is not accompanied by proper catch documentation or for which there has been no prior notification.

How will NOAA Fisheries verify the products were legally caught?
NOAA Fisheries will rely on the full range of compliance tools mandated in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act and other applicable state and Federal conservation and management laws and regulations to ensure products are legally caught. NOAA will conduct periodic audits to ensure full compliance.

Will both my health certificate and catch document be delivered as a package? Will they be delivered electronically?
Both documents should be able to be requested electronically but only the catch document can be delivered electronically to the requestor at this time. The health certificate must be mailed to the requestor via FedEx or picked up by the requestor at the nearest inspection office. The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program prefers to deliver the catch document electronically to the requestor. The EU is considering whether health certificates can be accepted electronically in the future.

Can one catch certificate be used for live as well as processed products in a consignment?
Yes, as long as all the products in the consignment are going to the same importer.

How long will an exporter be required to keep records related to the catch certificate? Three years.

Who is responsible for keeping the records?
The exporter is required to keep the records but for auditing purposes, each firm/company/entity along the chain of custody should retain records to answer “who, what, where and when” type questions.

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Electronic Certification

Will both my health certificate and catch document be delivered as a package? Will they be delivered electronically?
Both documents should be able to be requested electronically but only the catch document can be delivered electronically to the requestor at this time. The health certificate must be mailed to the requestor via FedEx or picked up by the requestor at the nearest inspection office. The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program prefers to deliver the catch document electronically to the requestor. The EU is considering whether health certificates can be accepted electronically in the future.

Does the exporter have to affix a seal on the catch document? How do I do that?
The seal is an image unique to the exporting business. The Online Request System will insert a unique, default seal into the customer account when a new account is established. The seal image file will be inserted automatically onto the certificate when it is issued by SIP.

What is an e-signature?
An electronic signature, or e-signature, is a method of signing an electronic message that: (A) identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the electronic message; and (B) indicates such person's approval of the information contained in the electronic message. By using the Online Request System, exporters will authorize the use of an e-signature statement on the certificate. The statement will be inserted automatically onto the certificate when it is issued by SIP.

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Costs and Payments

What is the cost of an EU catch document?
The cost for a catch document will be bundled with the cost for a health certificate when requested together. Please see current Seafood Inspection Program fees at www.seafood.nmfs.noaa.gov/pdfs/fees17.pdf. 

Why is there a charge for these documents?
The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program is a fee for service program that is required to recuperate all costs associated with the program and its services.

What if I only need a catch document and not a health certificate? What then will be the cost?
You may request a catch document without a health certificate. The cost of a catch document alone without a health certificate will be the same cost as a single certificate under the current rates.

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Transshipment, Re-Export, and Foreign Processing Scenarios

Do I need a catch document even if my product is going to another country before the EU?
Yes, only the U.S. Government may issue an EU catch document for products legally harvested by U.S. flagged vessels. If the fishery product has a reasonable likelihood of being further processed and/or stored and sent on to the EU, a catch document can and should be requested before the product leaves the United States.

Whose responsibility is it to transmit catch documents onward to the EU once U.S. product is exported to another country before the EU, China for example?
The direct exporter to the EU in the third country is responsible for sending the U.S. catch document, along with other documentation, to the EU importer. It is the responsibility of the U.S. exporter to provide a catch document for fishery products harvested by U.S. flagged vessels to the importer in a third country (e.g., China).

What set of documents related to the IUU Regulation must accompany a consignment sent from the U.S., further processed in China or another country, and re-exported to the EU?
It is the responsibility of the exporter from a third country to forward the U.S. catch document and the EC Regulation 1005/2008 Annex IV document, issued and signed by the Chinese or other third country authorities, to the EU importer.

What’s Annex IV?
The Annex IV is a document required by the EU in the IUU Regulation attesting that the products received from a given country were accompanied by a valid catch document and that the final products being re-exported to the EU are coming from that initial consignment. This document is to be completed by the processor or exporter of the transiting country and endorsed by the competent authorities of that particular country. In the event that an American exporter is exporting product to the EU that was sourced in another country, (Canada or Mexico, for instance) the U.S. exporter will have to send the Annex IV document to the EU importer along with the original catch document.

In what case is NOAA issuing Annex IV?
NOAA will issue an Annex IV for products imported from another non-EU country, further processed in the U.S., and re-exported to the EU.

What if my product is caught by a U.S. flagged vessel and transshipped in a consignment through a Pacific Island destination and sent to an importer in Thailand, for example? How do I get a signed catch document from NOAA Fisheries?
A document must be requested following the procedures outlined on the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program website at: www.seafood.nmfs.noaa.gov. After a request is received and validated, the program will deliver the catch document to the requestor.

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Lobster Exports

What about lobsters caught in Canada and trucked to the United States before being sent to Europe?
The EC has recognized the special relationship between the United States and Canada and has, in addition, signed agreements with each country acknowledging that each country has an effective fisheries management regime. NOAA Fisheries is in discussions with Canada at this time to ensure that international trade between the two countries is seamless and uninterrupted.

Lobsters are unusual in that they are commingled and held up to the six months before being shipped to Europe. In the case of lobsters, how is the date of harvest addressed on the catch certificate?
NOAA Fisheries is aware of the unique situation related to lobsters and will provide guidance on the matter of harvest date.

For live product, the exporter may not know the flight number of the plane on which his product is sent to Europe until after the plan has taken off. How can this situation be accommodated in the “Transport Details” section of the catch document after the document has been sent to the importer?
If there is a change in flight details after the catch document is sent, the exporter should send a follow-up email or communication to the importer to correct the importer's records.