Third Country Landings and Transhipments

Direct landings from Third Country vessels to EU ports are considered as a distinct form of import and as such are treated differently within a sanitary and phytosanitary context to import consignments in that direct landings of fresh fish do not need to enter through a port that is also a Border Control Post.

The IUU Regulation provides an improved framework for Port State control, allowing EU Member State authorities to better monitor and supervise incoming fishing vessels and their catches. Access to port services, landings, and transhipment by third country (non-EU) fishing vessels will therefore only be authorised in designated ports.

Port State Control – NEAFC

NEAFC Port State Control procedures apply to the use of NEAFC Contracting Parties designated ports by foreign fishing vessels (including fish processing vessels and vessels engaged in transhipment), with catch on board of fisheries resources that have been caught in the NEAFC Convention Area by foreign fishing vessels and that have not been previously landed or transhipped at a port. PSC procedures apply to both fresh, frozen resources and other resources.

"Fishery resources" means resources of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and including sedentary species, excluding, in so far as they are dealt with by other international agreements, highly migratory species listed in Annex I of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, and anadromous stocks; (Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in North-East Atlantic Fisheries Article 1.2).

“Fishing vessel” means any vessel used or intended for use for the purposes of the commercial exploitation of fisheries resources, including fish processing vessels and vessels engaged in transhipment.

“Foreign fishing vessel” means a fishing vessel flying the flag of another Contracting Party.

Further information on NEAFC Port State Control procedures can be found here.

IUU & NEAFC Designated Ports

While the movement of fish and fishery products is largely unrestricted within the EU, imports of fish and fishery products from outside the EU are strictly regulated. Under current Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries legislation, direct landings by Third Country vessels can only take place in EU ports that have been designated specifically for this purpose under both North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission Port State Control (NEAFC PSC) and IUU regimes.

Ireland currently has two fully designated ports – Killybegs, Co. Donegal, and Castletownbere, Co. Cork.

Ireland also has a number of partially designated ports - Burtonport, Rathmullan and Greencastle in Co. Donegal; Ros A Mhil in Co. Galway, Dunmore East in Co. Waterford and Howth in Co. Dublin.

Landing restrictions will be in place at some of these designated ports as outlined in the table below.

*These ports are not EU Approved Border Control Posts. Consequently, frozen fish may only be landed by fishing vessels registered either in NI or EFTA countries including Iceland, Norway and Faroes.

NEAFC Only Designated Ports

Two additional ports have been granted NEAFC only designation, Moville and Quigley’s Point, Co. Donegal.

Landing restrictions will be in place as outlined in the table below.

Third Country Fishing Vessel Landing Requirements

SFPA guidance is issued from the perspective of the Port State authority responsible for fishery control and food safety controls for landings to Irish Ports.

Documentary Requirements

In general, the advance submission of the below documentation will be required for all landings into Ireland’s designated ports:

  1. Prior Notification Form – The Prior Notification form to be completed will be dictated by the catch on board the vessel.
  • Prior Notification Annex IIa – This document should be used where the catch species are exempt from IUU regulation. A detailed list of species exempt from IUU regulation can be found here. For species exempt from IUU regulation a Catch Certificate will not be required.
  • Prior Notification Annex IIb – This document should be used for all species subject to IUU regulation. A validated catch certificate will be required where Annex IIb is submitted.
  1. Pre-Landing Declaration – The pre-landing declaration is submitted prior to landing; the declaration indicates the quantity and species to   be landed or transhipped in the designated port. Vessel masters or representatives will be responsible for the accuracy of the declaration.
  • Pre-Landing Declaration Annex IIIA – The template as set out in Article 3(1) of IUU regulation 1010/2009 must be used by all vessels intending to land in Ireland’s designated ports.
  • For UK vessels the pre-landing declaration provided by the competent authorities in the United Kingdom can be used.
  1. Validated Catch Certificate – A catch certificate validated by the flag state of the vessel is required where the species on board is subject to IUU regulation.
  2. NEAFC Port State Control Measures – All vessels intending to land produce caught in the NEAFC convention are required to complete an Annex XV PSC1 as required under NEAFC Regulation 1236/2010.
  • All vessels are required to register on the NEAFC website to allow for forms to be completed.
  • The master of the vessel or vessel representative is required to complete Part A of the PSC1 on their vessel specific NEAFC account. The PSC1 is then submitted electronically on the NEAFC PSC website.
  • NEAFC PSC must be submitted 4 hours in advance of landing for fresh fish and 24 hours in advance for frozen fish.
  • Following submission, the Port State FMC and Flag State FMC will review and validate the content of the submission.

The Prior Notification Form, Pre-Landing Declaration and validated Catch Certificate (if applicable) must be submitted by email by the vessel master or vessel representative to the Irish FMC ( ).

Notification Timelines

*PSC1 will need to be completed for entry to port for use of services if there are NEAFC species on board.


For transhipment operations to take place within an Irish designated port the third country vessel must submit a Prior Notification Form and a validated Catch Certificate. A Pre-Transhipment Declaration must also be completed and submitted at least 4 hours in advance of the intended transhipment operation. The Pre-Transhipment Declaration should be emailed to the Irish FMC ( ).

Port State Authorities Authorisation

Following submission of all required landing documentation the Irish FMC will forward submission to the SFPA port of landing or transhipment. The Irish FMC and SFPA will review the submission to assess fishery conservation and compliance risks, in particular the legitimate entitlement of the vessel to catch and land the catch on board.

Once documentary submissions have been completed the vessel will receive authorisation to enter port or complete transhipment operation from the Irish FMC. Vessels should not enter port or discharge or tranship the catch on board without required authorisation.

Landing Inspection

All direct landings of third country vessels in Irish designated ports are subject to inspection. The SFPA may, on a risk assessment basis undertake physical inspections to ensure complete and accurate declarations of quantities and species. The IUU regulation sets out inspection benchmarks for Member States and further provide for circumstances where third country fishing vessels will always be subject to inspection.

Please note the above only outlines the fishery control requirements for third country vessel landings in Irish designated ports. There may be further Revenue and Customs requirements, these requirements fall outside of the SFPA remit. Vessels should consult for further information.