Changing Landscapes


Seafish issues guidance on catch and health certificates required for seafood imports and exports in ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario

22 March 2019  |  Changing Landscapes
Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, has released guidance for importers and exporters on how catch certificates and export health certificates (EHCs) would operate in the event that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

Compiled by Seafish’s regulation team in response to enquiries from the industry, the advice relates to how catch certificates and EHCs will operate in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario and may provide a degree of flexibility for importers and exporters.

The advice has been added to Seafish’s UK Seafood Industry Guide – Preparing your Business for EU Exit. Produced by Seafish’s regulation team, it offers bespoke guidance for the seafood sector and practical advice designed to help businesses to prepare for whichever form Brexit may take.

The issued advice in full is as follows:


1. New Catch Certificate advice may grant flexibility for seafood imported to the UK from the EU in a ‘no deal’ scenario

You will require a catch certificate and supporting documents, validated by the country of export, for most consignments of wild-caught seafood imported from the EU or elsewhere and for direct landings of non-UK caught fishery products. If the seafood you’re importing to the UK has been:

  • stored: you’ll need a storage document from the exporter
  • processed: you’ll need a processing statement from the exporter – this must be filled in by the processor and endorsed by the authority in the country of processing. 

To ensure efficient clearance of your consignment, you should provide the original paper catch certificate to the port of entry in advance or at the time of your consignment’s arrival. If this is not possible, you should check with your port of entry: some ports may agree to release your consignment if you supply them with electronic catch certificate documents, provided that hard copies of those documents follow.

You won’t need a catch certificate to import:

  • Aquaculture products
  • Freshwater products
  • Oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, abalone
  • Fish sauce (CN code 1603)

Check with Annex 1 of Regulation 1005/2008 (as amended) for details of any exemptions.

You should ensure that the accompanying commercial documents contain information to support your claim that no catch certificate is required, such as documentary evidence that the product is of aquaculture origin.

2. Changes to the Export Health Certificate (EHC) system grants flexibility for UK seafood exporters in a ‘no deal’ scenario

Exporters can now apply for blocks of Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to be held by local authorities (LAs) or Official Veterinarians (OVs) ready for export, as required. Issuing 'blocks' of serially numbered EHCs to LAs/OVs in advance, will help when certificates are required at pace. The block certification system intends to provide exporters with the flexibility to choose what works best for their business i.e. flexibility to change BIP, destination and consignment information.

Block certificates can be requested by indicating the number of certificates required on the relevant EHC application form (see section 6 of our ‘Preparing your Business for EU Exit’ guide for more information).  As a minimum, exporters must provide the following information to complete a block EHC application:

  • Exporter’s name as consignor
  • Exporter’s nominated Certifying Officer (EHO/OV) as the EHCs will be delivered to the nominated authorised signatory 

The remaining information can be completed at the point of certification. Any additional information provided at the point of application will be entered on all certificates (e.g. destination) which can be edited later.

A new certification system is to be launched in summer 2019 to make applying for EHCs easier. Therefore, current arrangements are only expected to be in place for a few months.

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