Third Country Transhipment & Landings Notifications

The IUU Regulations provide an improved framework for port state control, allowing EU Member State authorities to better monitor and supervise fish catches arriving into those Member State ports that have been designated for direct landings of fish by Third Country fishing vessels. 


Prior Notification & Pre Landing Declaration Documents

In Ireland there are seven Designated Ports, namely Killybegs, Greencastle, Rathmullan and Burtonport in Co. Donegal, Castletownbere, in Co. Cork, Ros A Mhil in Co. Galway and Howth in Co. Dublin. These ports can be accessed for services, landings and transhipments by third country fishing vessels, with some port-specific restrictions on vessel flag state. These landings will only be authorised when prior notification and a pre-landing declarations have been submitted to the respective competent authority and giving a minimum of 4 hours’ prior notice. These documents should be typed and not handwritten, for ease of understanding and clarity. Once completed, they should be emailed to Ireland's Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) at Respective validated Catch Certificates must also be submitted at time of Prior Notification/Pre-Landing Declaration and should be sent to Ireland’s FMC, for onward transmission to the intended designated port of landing. Vessels will be notified by email with the intentions of the SFPA Port Staff as to whether they are sanctioned to land or to await the arrival of Fisheries Inspectors.


Prior Notification Document for Third Country Vessels (Article 2(2) 1010/2009)

Prior Notification Document for Third Country Vessels (Article 2(1) 1010/2009)

Pre Landing Declaration for Third Country Vessels


Port State Control - NEAFC

NEAFC Port State Control procedures apply to the use of ports of NEAFC Contracting Parties by foreign fishing vessels (including fish processing vessels and vessels engaged in transhipment), with catch on board of fisheries resources [1] that have been caught in the NEAFC Convention Area by foreign fishing vessels [2] and that have not been previously landed or transhipped at a port. PSC procedures apply to both fresh, frozen resources and other resources.

[1]"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 [NEAFC Convention] Article 1.2)

[2] NEAFC Scheme of Control and Enforcement Article 1 Definitions

  1. “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;
  2. “foreign fishing vessel” means a fishing vessel flying the flag of another Contracting Party;

Use this site to send any Prior Notifications of Entry into Port (Forms PSC1 and PSC2) to designated ports in the NEAFC Convention Area.

Transhipment Declaration 

For transhipment operations to take place within a designated port in Ireland, a Prior Notification and validated Catch Certificate must have been provided (see above) to the respective competent authority. Once the latter has been completed a pre-transhipment declaration must be submitted, at least four hours before the intended transhipment operation time. The Pre-Transhipment Declaration should be typed and not handwritten, for ease of understanding and clarity. Once completed, it should be emailed to Ireland's FMC at for onward transmission.

Pre-Transhipment Declaration for Third Country Vessels

Designated Ports

Ireland has seven designated ports that permit landings and transhipment operations of fishery products for third country vessels in accordance with Article 5 (2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008.  These ports are Killybegs, Greencastle, Rathmullan and Burtonport in Co. Donegal, Castletownbere, in Co. Cork, Ros A Mhil in Co. Galway and Howth in Co. Dublin.

Third Country Fishing Vessels Entering or Discharging Fish at Irish Ports

Fishery Control Requirements

SFPA guidance is issued purely from the perspective of the Port State authority responsible for fishery control and food safety controls for landings to Ireland. In all cases Third Country vessels owners and masters are strongly advised to consult on requirements with the Flag State issuing their fishing licenses.


SFPA suggest masters of UK fishing vessels should consider the requirements newly applicable to their landing to EU ports under 4 headings:

  1. Port Designation
  2. Advance Submissions
  3. Await Authorisation
  4. Expect Inspection

1.  Port Designation

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 has recently partially designated Burtonport, Rathmullan and Greencastle in Co. Donegal; Ros A Mhil, Co. Galway, and Howth, Co. Dublin. Landing restrictions will be in place at some of these designated ports as outlined in the table below.


Third Country Nationality

Vessel Size



Access Times


NI vessels



Fresh only

14:00 to 20:00 weekdays





All Demersal

Fresh or Frozen* Fish

10:00 to 22:00 Weekdays



All Third Country vessels





*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.

2.  Advance Submissions

There are generally 4 submissions required, in advance for every landing:

  • Prior Notification of entry stating onboard catch
  • Catch Certificate attesting to legitimacy of catch
  • Pre-landing declaration describing what is intended to land
  • NEAFC Port State Control form describing what is intended to land

The first three submissions need to be sent typically by email, by the vessel master or their representative or agent, to the Irish FMC at

Document B, the Catch Certificate needs to have been validated by the Flag State prior to submission.

Submission D, NEAFC Port State Control form, requires the master/agent to enter the information through NEAFC website using their vessel specific account.

Whilst vessel masters may undertake these submissions onboard, it may be preferable for a shore side master representative to do so.   Masters’ representative could be any of the following, 

  • Owner of the FV
  • Flag State agent acting on behalf of master
  • Agent in Ireland acting on behalf of master
  • Producer Organisation representing master

Tabular summary of timelines for documentary submission

Time in advance of arrival to port

Fresh Fish

Frozen Fish

Three days


Prior Notification

Catch Certificate

24 hours



4 hours

Prior notification

Catch Certificate

Pre-landing Declaration


Pre-landing Declaration


Submission A:  Prior notification (PNO)

This is required by both EU IUU regulations and NEAFC PSC Scheme. Third country fishing vessels need to give advice notification of their intention to enter an EU port. The minimum prior notification deadlines in advance of arrival to port for third country vessel are

  • Fresh fish: 4hrs’ notice
  • Frozen fish: Three days’ notice

For third country fishing vessels the prior notification needs to follow the template set out in the EU IUU regulation. There are two slightly different variants of this depending on whether or not a catch cert is being provided at the time of PNO, but it generally is. Masters of vessels accustomed to sending a PNO through their electronic logbook should ensure their Flag State has made provision for those PNOs to take this form when transmitted to Ireland as a Third Country, and if in doubt they should email the PNO in the prescribed form to the Irish FMC along with other documents.

  • Normally prior notification when accompanied by a Catch Certificate, takes the simpler form set out in EU regulation 1010/2009 Article 2 (2)Annex IIb


  • Unusually, e.g. exempt species, or not landing any fish, or if in doubt, prior notification without Catch Certificate, should follow the form set out inEU regulation 1010/2009 Article 2 (1)Annex IIa


The United Kingdom authorities provide templates for UK vessels making such submissions  when landing to EU ports.

Submission B:  Catch Certificate

This is required by EU IUU regulations and it needs to follow the template set out therein. It should be submitted by the master to the Irish authorities along with the PNO at the same time in advance of arrival to port.

The document submitted to Irish authorities needs to have been validated by the Flag State fisheries authorities, so masters should apply to that Flag State (e.g. UK) authority for a catch certificate allowing sufficient time to have obtained the validated catch certificate for submission to the Irish Authorities at the same time as PNO.

  • Normally the Catch Certificate validated by the Flag State authoritytakes the form set out in of EU regulation 1005/2008 Article 12 and Annex II
  • For smaller vessels* a Simplified Catch certificate, still validated by the Flag State Authority is set out inEU regulation 1010/2009 Article 6 and Annex IV.

*This simplified catch certificate is acceptable for Third Country Fishing Vessels that meet any one of the following criteria

  • Less than 12M without towed gear
  • Less than 8 M with towed gear
  • Without superstructure
  • Less than 2 GrossTonnes

The United Kingdom provide a system  for requesting a catch certificates through their Fish Export Service

Submission C: Pre-Landing Declaration

This is required by EU IUU regulations and it needs to follow the template set out there.  It needs to arrive at least 4 hours before landing so for fresh fish it should be submitted at the same time as the PNO and Catch Certificate.

  • Pre-landing declaration should take the form set out in Commission Regulation 1010/2009 Article 3(1) Annex IIIA

The United Kingdom provide a template for UK vessels’ submissions of Pre-landing Declarations for landings to EU ports.

North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission Port State Control (NEAFC PSC) measures

In order to comply with the NEAFC scheme of control and enforcement, all fishing vessels landing fish captured in the convention area are required to complete prior notification of landing that is validated by the flag state and authorised by the port state. This is an additional form of prior notification of intended landing that is necessary under the standalone NEAFC regulatory framework.

This submission needs to take the form set out in NEAFC scheme specifically PSC1 as required under its Annex XV. whereby vessel masters are responsible for completing Part A.

This documentation should not be submitted directly but must be completed and then submitted electronically using the NEAFC PSC website  All vessels are required to register on the NEAFC website to enable the forms to be completed electronically by the vessel master or the master’s representative.

For Irish designated ports, the NEAFC PSC Submission times are

  • Fresh fish: 4hrs’ notice
  • Frozen fish: 24hrs’ notice

Following submission, both the Port state FMC (Ireland) and the Flag State FMC (e.g. UK) review and validate the contents of the submission.


3.  Await Authorisation from Port State Authorities

 A key part of Third Country fishery controls is the need to await authorisation before entry to port and before discharging fish. Following necessary submissions in advance of arrival, Irish Fishery authorities including SFPA and FMC, will review the documentation to assess fishery conservation compliance risks with particular focus on the legitimate entitlement of the vessel to catch such fish. Once documentary submissions are complete, authorisation to enter port should be received. Authorisation to discharge fish may be offered at that time or may be received upon arrival of the vessel.   Masters should not enter port nor discharge fish without the necessary authorisations.

4.  Expect Physical Landing Inspections

All landings of fish are potentially subject to inspections. For these Third Country direct landings, SFPA may on a risk basis undertake physical inspections with focus on ensuring complete and accurate declaration of fish quantity and species. In addition to setting minimal inspection frequencies, SFPA regard IUU regulations to specify several cases where fishing vessels registered to a Third Country must always be inspected.


Caveat for Revenue and Customs controls

This document only describes fishery control requirements. There also exist Revenue and Customs requirements for such Third Country landings, outside of SFPA remit, and masters should consult with to understand those.