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  • Writer's pictureAlinea Customs

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing requirements

If you are importing fish into Great Britain from another country you must follow the UK’s Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing requirements which came into effect in January 2021.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have identified that the requirement to submit the pre-notification of IUU catch certificates directly to the relevant port health authorities will change to administration via IPAFFS at an unspecified future date.

Currently - traders importing fish into Great Britain entering via Port of Dover must notify Dover Port Health of the intended arrival of the consignment two working hours prior to arrival.

Dover Port Health's office hours are Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00.

For example, if you have a consignment which is due to arrive on Saturday at 13:00, this would need to be pre-notified by 15:00 on Friday, before the consignment is landed.

The importer will be required to register for a PHILIS account to enable completion of the online pre-notification form, which may take several days to be approved. Once approved, a confirmation email will be received by the importer, which will contain their log in details and organisation number.

A ‘help’ section can be found under the support button within the PHILIS system once you have logged in, which provides information on how to submit a pre-notification. You will have to complete the mandatory boxes and then save and submit the pre-notification. A box will appear stating ‘Submitted successfully’.

Supporting documentation (catch certificate, sea waybill, invoice, packing list etc.) can be attached to the pre-notification or e-mailed to

  • Log in and complete your pre-notification

  • Register to use PHILIS

Fees and Charges

Fees are payable for checking documentation and examination or sampling consignments should it prove necessary.

Dover Port Health's current fees and charges can be found here

Please email to set up a payment account prior to the arrival of an Import.

Dover Port Health contact details

  • Phone Number: 01304 872216

  • Email Port Health:

What are the UK’s IUU fishing requirements?

IUU fishing documentation (catch certificates, processing statements and evidence of storage) must be sent in advance to the relevant Port Health Authority (PHA) for imports of fish and fishery products. Certain exemptions apply as outlined in Annex I of the UK’s IUU fishing regulation. These requirements are wholly separate, and in addition to, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.

  • Catch certificates are a key tool in reducing IUU fishing and provide assurance that the fish imported is caught legally and in-line with relevant regulatory and management measures. This is validated by the flag state of the catching vessel.

  • If fish is processed in a country that is not the flag state of the catching vessel, a processing statement is required. This document shall be endorsed by the competent authority of the processing country. Processing includes filleting, packing, canning, freezing, smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, or preparing fish for market in any other manner.

  • If the product has been stored in a country that is not the flag state of the catching vessel or processing state, then evidence of storage is required. This should consist of documented evidence or a specific form, to show that the product was stored and remained under the surveillance of the competent authority in that third country.

Note: EU Member States are treated as 27 separate countries for the purposes of IUU fishing.

Actions to take:

1. These documents are required now (including for imports from the EU) and must be sent by email (or provided physically if the PHA requests) to the relevant PHA in advance of the consignment’s arrival. In the future these documents will need to be uploaded on to IPAFFs, but Defra will provide notice in advance of this becoming a requirement.

2. Contact the PHA to find out how far in advance you need to send the documents - but the minimum timings set in the legislation are 72 hours in advance for imports by sea, 4 hours by rail or air and 2 hours by road.

Fees and Compliance

PHAs charge a fee to recover costs for checking these documents (or, if deemed necessary, performing a physical inspection). These fees are set by individual authorities and will therefore vary.

PHAs and the Marine Management Organisation are responsible for enforcing these requirements and may take enforcement action where appropriate.

Further information

For further information on the requirements for importing fish or fish products into the UK please visit For help and support on the UK’s IUU fishing requirements, please contact or call the Marine Management Organisation helpline on 0330 041 6999

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