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Port Health: catch certificates, veterinary, and plastic declaration documents

Port health, along with plant health, authorities are responsible for protecting the public, animal and environmental health of the UK. To check goods are safe, catch certificates, veterinary certificates, plastic declaration documents (PDDs), and other documentation need to be approved before processing the customs clearance.

Previously, trade between the EU and the UK allowed for free movement of health products, as the UK was within the EC customs territory. However, since Brexit, port health checks are now required for all UK – EU trade, on both sides of the border, although the UK has delayed full border checks by a year. The EU has required full port health checks since January 1st.

The new requirement for documents initially caused several delays to importing and exporting good from the EU. UK fishermen, in particular, struggled to to match previous transit times with the new requirement of catch certificates causing confusion for many.

Why are IUU catch certificates required?

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catch certificates are required to confirm that fish have been caught under an approved fishing regime. The need for an IUU fishing certificate means that illegally caught fish will be harder to smuggle in to the market. 

IUU catch certificates normally provide information including, but not limited to:

– Confirmation of the boats licensing by the fishing authority.

– The species of fish caught, and the commodity code. 

– Where and when the fish were caught. 

– A declaration that the weight being transported is not more than the amount caught and unloaded from the fishing vessel. 

– Details of transit, including the shipper, buyer and the end destination.

Separate fishing certificates need to be created for each individual shipment.

What are veterinary certificates for?


Veterinary certificates provide proof or origin or treatment of animal products, whether or not for human consumption. This is to ensure that the animals have been raised in approved establishments and areas. Imports from prohibited areas are not allowed to be customs cleared, and will be destroyed or returned.

Veterinary certificates can be requested by port health as an additional check on foods that are not meat or fish. For example, biscuits that contain eggs may require a veterinary certificate to prove that the eggs were of approved origin.

What is a plastic declaration document (PDD)?

Some plastics, like melamine, can be dangerous for human health. Traces of this plastic can be found in some kitchenware, and must be tested to ensure that traces are not being released into food when heat is applied.

Plastic declaration documents (PDDs) are required on imports of kitchenware from China or Hong Kong, that contain polyamide or melamine, to ensure that the goods have been subjected to appropriate tests.

The PDD declaration is submitted to port health with copies of the tests, before the document is approved and the goods can be customs cleared. 

If you need assistance with knowing what port health certificates are needed for your customs clearance, or with processing catch certificates, veterinary certificates, or PDDs, please get in touch with our experts. 


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