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European Community Catch Certification Requirements

The European Community (EC) adopted a Regulation in September 2008 to establish a range of measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Amongst other things, it prohibits the importation into the EC of fishery products obtained from IUU fishing.

To give effect to this prohibition, fishery products derived from catch taken from 1 January 2010 and exported to the EC, must be accompanied by a catch certificate certifying that it was caught in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and international conservation and management measures. Indirect imports to the EC must be accompanied by additional traceability documentation provided by the third country. EC Member States are required to refuse importation of a consignment where the necessary catch certificates and traceability documents have not been submitted sufficiently in advance of the import; is absent; is incomplete; does not match the fishery products; or is from IUU black listed vessels or States.

While New Zealand already exercises effective control over its vessels within and beyond its waters, New Zealand nonetheless has had to establish a catch certification system to maintain access to the EC market.

There are a number of scenarios whereby the EC requires catch documentation from New Zealand. The catch certificates and traceability documentation required vary depending on the particular scenario. Factors that determine the catch certificates required include the jurisdiction in which the catch was taken; the port State to which the catch was landed; and where the catch was processed.

For the purposes of the EC Regulation MFish is the principle competent authority with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) also playing a role. The specific roles and responsibilities of each agency depend on the scenario under which fisheries products contained in each export consignment where caught and processed.

The section below provides access to information on how to ensure EC eligibility for the various catch scenarios. Where appropriate, links are provided to the required forms.

Please note that the EC Regulation requires that catch certification is forwarded to the relevant EC border authority 3 working days prior to the arrival of the consignment if it is arriving by sea or 4 hours prior to the arrival of the consignment if it is arriving by air.

Further details are available directly by contacting rdm@fish.govt.nz  

Catch scenarios

The specific catch certificates necessary to ensure catch taken by New Zealand vessels is eligible for export to EC markets varies depending on where and when the catch was taken, and where the catch was landed. Catch certification requirements are detailed below.

All catch taken by New Zealand vessels prior to 1 January 2010

Catch taken prior to 1 January 2010 does not require a catch certificate under the EC IUU Regulation.

However, where fisheries products are exported to the EC that contain fish caught prior to 1 January 2010, individual EC Member States may require confirmation that the fish were caught before the EC IUU catch certification requirements came into effect.

The following statement may be used or referenced by exporters to detail New Zealand catch certification requirements before and after 1 January 2010.

Ministry of Fisheries statement on New Zealand catch certification requirements to satisfy Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008

Under the European Union’s Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008, all wild capture marine fish and fisheries products caught on or after 1 January 2010 imported into the EU must be accompanied by catch certification.

In order to give effect to this market access requirement, New Zealand law requires that all fisheries products exported to the European Community that contain fish caught by New Zealand vessels on or after 1 January 2010 must be accompanied by a New Zealand catch certificate.

Fisheries products exported to the European Community that contain fish caught by New Zealand vessels before 1 January 2010 do not require a New Zealand catch certificate under New Zealand law.

Catch landed into New Zealand ports

All catch landed from New Zealand vessels into New Zealand ports, whether taken within the New Zealand EEZ, a third nation’s EEZ or the high seas, requires a catch certificate generated by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) Electronic Certification system (E-Cert). Users must be registered with NZFSA to access the E-Cert system.

The New Zealand catch certificate agreed to by the EC and New Zealand has been published in the EC Official Journal. A sample of the New Zealand catch certificate is available for download below.

Adobe PDF.  Download Sample New Zealand Catch Certificate (PDF 536KB)

Details on the E-Cert system and how to register are available from NZFSA here

Catch covered by the CCAMLR catch documentation scheme

The EC IUU regulation recognises the CCAMLR catch documentation scheme. No additional catch certification is required.

Note that species caught within the CCAMLR region but not covered by the CCAMLR catch documentation scheme will require a New Zealand catch certificate as normal.

Catch covered by the CCSBT catch documentation scheme

The EC IUU regulation recognises the CCSBT catch documentation scheme. The importer must also submit information on transport details specified in Annex II of the IUU Regulation. A Transport Details form, consistent with Annex II requirements, is available for download below.

Word Doc.  Download MFish transport details form (DOC 34KB)

Catch landed by New Zealand vessels to foreign ports

Catch landed by New Zealand vessels into foreign ports requires a Ministry of Fisheries catch certificate to ensure eligibility for export to EC markets.

The Ministry of Fisheries catch certificate is available on request. Please email the Ministry at rdm@fish.govt.nz


Updated : 28 April 2011