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Sustainable management of external fishing fleets

Sustainable management of external fishing fleets



Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 — sustainable management of external fishing fleets



Fishing authorisations

An EU vessel fishing outside EU waters requires an authorisation by the EU country in which it is registered (‘flag state’). This authorisation is based on a set of common eligibility criteria including:

  • administrative information on the vessel, its owner and the master;
  • a unique vessel identification number from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) where this is required by EU law;
  • valid fishing licence;
  • proof that the vessel is not included in an illegal fishing (IUU) vessel list adopted by a regional fisheries management organisation and/or by the EU.

Throughout the period of validity, the flag state concerned must regularly monitor whether the vessel is continuing to meet the conditions of the authorisation.

It must ensure that the activities are carried out in waters of a foreign Coastal State with the authorisation of that Coastal State, and after a scientific evaluation has been carried out and validated, verifying the sustainability of the fishing operations.

The EU vessels should fish on the surplus determined by the foreign Coastal State, or for migratory species, respect the rules set for these species at regional level.

Reflagging operations

A vessel that has left the EU register to be re-registered in a non-EU country during the 5 years prior to the application for an authorisation — and that has subsequently returned to the EU register — would only receive the authorisation if the EU country concerned has checked that the vessel neither engaged in IUU activities, nor operated in either a non-cooperating country or a third country identified as allowing non-sustainable fishing.

Public register

An EU electronic fishing authorisation register will be set up with a part of it being accessible to the public. The public part will contain information on the name of the vessel, IMO number, target species and fishing zone.

The EU currently has a database in which all fishing vessels flying the flag of an EU country, and registered in an EU territory, must be registered.

From when does the regulation apply?

It has applied since 17 January 2018.


For more information, see:


Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 (OJ L 347, 28.12.2017, pp. 81-104)


Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, pp. 22-61)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) No 1026/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain measures for the purpose of the conservation of fish stocks in relation to countries allowing non-sustainable fishing (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, pp. 34-37)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Union 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 (OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, pp. 1-50)

See consolidated version.

last update 23.10.2018