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The EU’s fisheries control system

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The EU’s fisheries control system


Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 — EU fisheries control system


The effectiveness of the EU’s common fisheries policy depends upon EU countries ensuring that its rules are followed in practice.


It establishes a system for the control, inspection and enforcement by national authorities of the rules of the common fisheries policy (CFP).


The main objectives of the control system are to:

ensure that only the allowed quantities of fish are caught;

collect the necessary data for managing fishing opportunities;

clarify the roles of EU countries and the European Commission;

ensure the rules are applied to all fishers in the same way, and with the same sanctions throughout the EU;

ensure that fisheries products can be traced back and checked throughout the supply chain, from net to plate.

It applies to:

all fishing activities in EU waters,

the fishing activities of EU vessels and EU citizens in EU and non-EU waters,

the processing and marketing of fishery products,

recreational fishing involving sensitive stocks,

and the traceability of aquaculture products.

Control and monitoring

EU country must carry out inspections throughout the production chain in particular during:





The collection of data uses new technologies such as:

electronic logbooks

a systematic catch weighing system

a system to trace fishery products form vessel to retailer.

Inspection powers

EU countries are exclusively responsible for controlling and enforcing the CFP. However the Commission can carry out its own independent inspections, including taking part in national inspections, to check whether national authorities are implementing the rules correctly.


Sanctions can be imposed, based on value of the catch taken, when a serious offence has been committed. There is a system of penalty points for the holders of fishing permits leading initially to suspension and ultimately to withdrawal of the permit for several serious offences.

EU countries can also face sanctions for not enforcing CFP rules correctly including:

the withholding of aid from the EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund

the closing of a fishery until the situation is resolved

a reduction in quotas (in the case of overfishing)

If an EU country does not take adequate action to resolve the problem, the Commission can take them to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Data collection

EU countries are required to have a secure database of all information collected in carrying out their responsibilities under the Regulation. The Commission must be able to access the database directly from any location. EU countries must also establish an official website of the data they collect, composed of secure and publicly accessible parts.

The Regulation also establishes a system of mutual assistance and information exchange between EU countries.


To encourage closer collaboration and the exchange of best practice, the European Fisheries Control Agency organises joint control campaigns involving inspectors from different EU countries.

For further information, see:


Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009


OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, pp. 1–50


OJ L 149, 16.6.2015, pp. 23

Amending acts

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1385/2013


OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, pp. 86–89

Regulation (EU) No 508/2014


OJ L 149, 20.5.2014, pp. 1–66

Regulation (EU) 2015/812


OJ L 133, 29.5.2015, pp. 1–20

The successive amendments and changes to Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 08.10.2015