Brexit and Trade Compliance in a no deal scenario

On 11 April 2019, the European Council (Article 50) decided, in agreement with the United Kingdom, to extend further the two-year period provided for by Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, until 31 October 2019. In July 2019, the Irish Government announced further steps in its ongoing Brexit contingency and preparedness work, recognising that there is now a significant risk of a no deal Brexit on 31 October. While the Government’s extensive preparedness and contingency efforts will help mitigate the negative effects of Brexit, a no deal Brexit will be highly disruptive. In such a scenario, it will be impossible for the UK to maintain the current seamless arrangements with the EU across the full range of sectors and this will have knock-on consequences for Ireland.

For the time between now and 31 October 2019, the Action Plan emphasises the need for stepped up preparedness measures, by exposed businesses in particular.  Industry cannot assume that because a no deal Brexit was averted in March and April that the same will happen in October – the need for prudent preparations is more pressing than ever.

Reciprocal access and fishing authorisations

As of 4 September 2019, the European Commission have adopted a proposal to extend until the end of 2020 the contingency Regulation EU 2019-498 on fishing authorisations, originally adopted in March 2019 until the end of 2019. This would maintain a simplified legal framework to allow the EU to continue to grant authorisations to UK vessels to enter EU waters and to manage authorisation requests by EU vessels entering UK waters, should the conditions on reciprocal access and sustainability be fulfilled. However, a UK response to this EU initiative has yet to be received.

Guidance for the sea-fisheries and seafood production sectors

As part of a series of measures that the Government have been taking, both nationally and in conjunction with the EU, the SFPA have updated the Brexit Trade Compliance guidance leaflet to prepare the sea-fisheries and seafood production sectors for a no deal Brexit scenario. The leaflet sets out the consequences for regulatory trade controls in both seafood safety and sea-fisheries conservation. The content is based on the organisation’s current understanding of the necessary requirements as of August 2019. This guidance is solely based on existing EU legislation and the information published in the following EU and UK Preparedness Notices:
EU Fisheries and Aquaculture
EU Fisheries Q&A               
EU Food Law              
UK- Exports to EU             
UK- Imports from EU      

Future regulatory implications

When the UK leaves the EU and becomes a Third Country, changes to the existing reciprocal EU-UK trade arrangements will be inevitable for import and export consignments of fish and fishery products; direct landings by Irish fishing vessels into UK ports; and UK fishing vessels into Irish ports. Importers, exporters and vessel owners should be aware of potential developments in this area, and of the specific implications for your business. Additional documentary and physical inspection-based verification of trade flows are anticipated reflecting the UK’s post-Brexit status as a Third Country. Information on the new requirements is outlined below in four separate categories.

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) control inspections

SPS control inspections are required at  EU/Third Country borders under EU law for the protection of animal health, plant health and food safety. Such controls (referred to as Official Controls) apply to imports of live animals, and animal products, which includes fish and fishery products, entering the Single Market and will have to be carried out on all agri-food products traded with the UK.

What SPS controls will apply to fish and fishery products?
Annex I to Commission Decision 2007/275/EC (as amended) outlines the full scope of fish and fishery products imported from Third Countries that require veterinary checks. Additional information applicable to all products of animal origin can be found here:


Register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)


 If you want to continue importing or exporting fish or fishery products from or to the UK, the person responsible for the consignment* must register with DAFM’s Corporate Customer System (CCS) and comply with the appropriate SPS requirements for Third Country imports. Access to the EU’s online system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) for sanitary requirements and trace the movements between EU and Third Countries will also be necessary. To register for both CCS and TRACES, please email:
*Please note, in most circumstances, ‘the person responsible for the consignment’ will be a customs agent working on behalf of the importer (as opposed to the importer him/herself).

Register with Customs

Once the UK exits the EU, customs formalities will commence for all existing and new traders with the UK.  As a result, such traders will be required to make customs declarations and will therefore need to register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.  Registration with Revenue for this number should be completed as soon as possible at


Import Consignments

1. Requirements for import consignments of fish and fishery products from the UK through Irish Border Inspection Posts

After Brexit, the introduction of animal products from the UK into the EU will be subject to SPS and veterinary controls at the point of entry in to the EU. If you are an importer of fish and fishery products from the UK, you are required to comply with the import conditions as laid down in EU legislation.

Pre-notification and document submission:
The person responsible for the load being imported (the importer or a customs agent acting on their behalf) must give the Border Inspection Post (BIP) at the intended point of entry advance notification of the arrival of the consignment:

  • There is a required minimum pre-notification notice period of at least 24 hours' notice in advance of the consignment’s arrival. Failure to submit correct documentation within this timeline may result in significant delays in the consignment being processed through the BIP.
  • Pre-notification is given by the submission of Part 1 of the Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED) through the online TRACES system accompanied by all supporting documentation associated with the consignment which should be submitted at this time as well:
    • Each consignment will need to be accompanied by a Health Certificate, drawn up in conformity with the model under EU law for the particular product, completed and signed on behalf of the Competent Authorities of the UK.
    • In terms of combatting, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, under existing regulations, wild caught fishery products will additionally require a Catch Certificate submitted as part of pre-notification which needs to be verified by the SFPA through a series of cross-checks.
    • Fishery product imports which do not require Catch Certificates (e.g. farmed fish and farmed shellfish, freshwater fish or freshwater shellfish, fish fry or larvae, and some molluscs including mussels, cockles, oysters and scallops) must have attestation of that status also routed via the SFPA.

Imports by Direct Landing

2. Requirements for imports by direct landings by UK vessels into designated Irish ports

At present, UK vessels can land into any Irish port. However, post-Brexit, under existing anti-IUU fishing regulations and North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) requirements:

  • Direct landings of fresh fishery products by UK fishing vessels:
    • Will need to be pre-notified and pre-authorised by the SFPA prior to their arrival, and;
    • If authorised, land into the one of the two designated Irish ports for Third Country landings; Killybegs or Castletownbere only.
  • In terms of IUU documentation, direct landings will require a Catch Certificate issued by the UK Authorities at least four hours in advance of landing.
  • If the vessel is landing NEAFC regulated resources, the submission will also require a NEAFC PSC1 form to be completed by the UK FMC and sent to the Irish FMC.
  • As per the IUU regulations, at least 5% of all landings by UK fishing vessels will be met by the SFPA at time of landing.
    • A risk-based assessment of the vessel will be conducted which may be escalated to a full physical inspection if necessary
  • In terms of SPS documentation, from day-1, there is no immediate requirement for attestation; however, vessel owners should be aware that future potential exists for this requirement.

Export Consignments

3. Requirements for export consignments of fish and fishery products to the UK via Border Inspection Posts

Once the UK leaves the EU, their access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) will no longer be possible for import notifications. The UK have developed a new system IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System). The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is releasing IPAFFS in phases. Phase one will come online first for non-EU countries, the second phase for EU Member States will not be operational until late summer 2019. Exporters of fish and fishery products will need to send information electronically at least 24 hours before arrival to notify the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) with details of the consignment including: origin, destination, purpose and export details: Email address:

In terms of SPS documentation, the UK has stated that fish and fish products exported directly from the EU to the UK will not require Health Certificates immediately from day-1, but will be necessary from late summer 2019. This is consistent with the certification approach being applied by UK Authorities for imports of other animal products from the EU.

The UK have indicated that there will be documentary IUU checks at UK BIPs on Catch Certificates for products from wild-caught fish and other commercial and supporting documents (e.g. storage documents and processing statements if applicable) related to fish imports to the UK from the EU:

  • The responsibility for obtaining a Catch Certificate falls on the exporter and it will need to be validated by the SFPA. It should then be submitted to the UK Port Health Authorities in advance of the consignment’s arrival into the UK BIP and must include:
    • Details about the catching vessel(s),
    • Amount of fish by species and weight,
    • Presentation and state, such as whole or filleted, fresh or frozen,
    • Commodity code.
  • If the export consignment contains fish or fishery products sourced from another country that have been stored in Ireland, but not processed in any way, a storage document will be required.
  • If the export consignment contains fish sourced from another country and has been processed in Ireland, a Processing Statement will be required.

Irish exporters who currently transport goods to EU markets through the UK landbridge are likely to face delays entering and exiting the UK post-Brexit. Allowances will need to be factored in for such interruptions to logistics. Ensuring that documentation is in order prior to the arrival of the goods and that it is legible, complete, and correct can help to mitigate the risk of delays during border checks at UK BIPs.

Exports by Direct Landings

4. Requirements for exports by direct landings by Irish fishing vessels into designated UK ports

In terms of designated ports for EU landings, as of the withdrawal date, EU vessels wishing to land in the UK will be subject to the rules applicable in the UK. The UK Government are currently reviewing the number and location of ports that will be designated to permit future landings from EU vessels.

For direct landings into the UK, EU including Irish fishing vessels will be required to provide the following documentation:

  • Master of Irish fishing vessel (or representative) will need to send a ‘Prior Notification Form’ to the Irish Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) for onward transmission to the UK Authorities, a minimum of 4hrs prior to landing for fresh fish and 72hrs for frozen fish.
  • Master of Irish fishing vessel (or representative) will need to send a ‘Pre Landing Declaration Form’, in addition to the Prior Notification Form; a minimum of 4hrs prior to landing. This will be sent to the Irish FMC for onward transmission to the UK Authorities.
  • Catch Certificates: Export of catches in terms of direct landings by Irish and EU vessels into the UK will be subject to fisheries control checks by the UK Authorities including the Catch Certificate Scheme.  Irish vessels landing catch into UK ports will therefore require a Catch Certificate, validated by the SFPA.
  • In terms of SPS documentation, from day-1, there is no immediate requirement for attestation; however, vessel owners should be aware that future potential exists for this requirement.