This project was completed by MRAG Ltd and RPA Ltd under Lot 6: Marine and Fisheries R&D, Evidence and Analysis of the Department For Environment, Food, And Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Research Development and Evidence Framework.  The aim of this project was to examine and evaluate possible improvements for the system of documentation and controls to reduce and deter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the United Kingdom (UK).  

The UK is no longer subject to the legislative powers of the European Union’s (EU) Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).  The EU IUU fishing regulations (Council Regulation No. 1005/2008) were retained by UK law, but there is now an opportunity to reform UK policies and regulations on IUU control.  The reforms will enable the UK to focus on how to improve the control of landings and fish imports into the UK market, taking into account the specific situation of the UK.  The UK also has the opportunity to look wider afield at the global IUU problem and highlight options where the UK can work with other States towards digitised and harmonised systems, regionally, if not globally, to reduce and deter IUU fishing or reduce the potential for IUU fish and seafood products to enter the markets of responsible States.

This project informs future UK policy for IUU fishing controls, through an assessment of the current UK and global situation through a literature review a review of the current UK system of control, a review of the EU system which the UK previously adhered to and recommendations based on stakeholder feedback. The report highlights significant potential for global harmonisation and digitisation for vessel records, both authorised vessels and IUU vessels and that there is great potential for a global catch certificate system, though political will and implementation problems mean this may take a while to implement.