Export Certification to the European Union

Guidance on exporting to the European Union

The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program is the competent authority within the U.S. Government for issuance of certain certificates required for export of fish and fishery products to the European Union (EU).  The program offers four documents required for export to the European Union.  They are:

  • EU export health certificate;
  • Export Health - EU Bivalve Mollusc, Echinoderms, Tunicates and Marine Gastropods
  • Legal Harvest US document for fisheries products harvested in the United States, to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing; and,
  • The EU “Annex IV” Legal Harvest document for products harvested in a country other than the United States but being exported through the United States to the EU, to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Under EU regulations, an export health certificate is required as well as one of the two Legal Harvest documents.  
 

EU Export Health Certificates

The EU export health certificate is required by the EU Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection and attests to the safety of fish and fishery -- both wild and aquaculture -- products shipped to the EU.   

NOTE: Export certificates must be requested and issued prior to shipment of product.

How to Request EU Export Health Certificates and Legal Harvest Documents

The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program launched a website through which current and new customers may now request health certificates and Legal Harvest documents for export to the European Union (EU). The online system streamlines and simplifies the process to request export certification services. All requests for EU Export Health Certificates must now be submitted through the:

NOTE: These certificates must be requested and issued prior to shipment of product.

To gain access to the online request system, customers must request access from the Seafood Inspection Program and log in using a username and password to place a new request. Legal Harvest US documents for product caught by U.S. flagged vessels on or after January 1, 2010 will be generated by the online system at the same time as the EU export health certificate.

QUESTION: What information is needed to request an EU health certificate and/or EU Legal Harvest document and in the specific fields on the health certificate?

Backup Procedures for EU Export Certification


In the event the Online Request System is unavailable, contact the Inspection Office nearest you.

For more information:

Composite Product Guidance

Asked Questions about the changeover of the health certificate program from FDA to NOAA that took place in June 2009

U.S. Commercial Service Guide for How to Export to the EU

EU IUU Regulation: Export Legal Harvest Documents

The EU Legal Harvest document is required by the EU Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries under European Commission (EC) Regulation 1005/2008 ("the IUU Regulation") to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing. 

To meet the EU requirements for products harvested on or after January 1, 2010, the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program issues a Legal Harvest document titled the, “United States Attestation of Legal Catch for Products Caught by U.S.-Flagged Vessels" to certify that the items in the shipment were caught by U.S. flagged vessels in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) and other applicable state and Federal conservation and management laws and regulations. 

The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program will also issue an “Annex IV” document for the export of fisheries products harvested in a country other than the United States transported through the United States which are destined for the European Union.  In this scenario, the EU requires such products be accompanied by a Legal Harvest document issued by the Competent Authority of the country of origin or vessel-flag and the Annex IV issued by the United States.

To ensure proper Legal Harvest Documentation, you must request one of the following:

What documents are needed? How to request?
Legal Harvest US Document (for U.S. caught product exported directly to the EU or through another country and on to the EU) Online Request System
To gain access to the online system, customers must request access from the Seafood Inspection Program and log in using a username and password to place a new request. Once you place a request, your Legal Harvest certificate will be emailed to you from the Inspection Office nearest you. 
“Annex IV” Catch Document (for foreign caught product exported through the U.S. to the EU) Online Request System
To gain access to the online system, customers must request access from the Seafood Inspection Program and log in using a username and password to place a new request. Once you place a request, your Legal Harvest certificate will be emailed to you from the Inspection Office nearest you.

QUESTION: What is an FAO Catch Area? I want to see a map of the FAO major fishing areas before I request a certificate.

FAOcatcharea_map.jpg

Map of FAO Major Fishing Areas

For more information:

Frequently Asked Questions about EU Legal Harvest document requirements

Legal Harvest certification agreed to by the EU and U.S. (view only)

Exclusions from the EU IUU Regulation

EU Regulation 1005/2008

Implementing Measures EU IUU Regulation 1010/2009

 

Certificate Requests

Contact the nearest Inspection Office to request a certificate.

Last updated by on September 29, 2020