Jul 1st, 2021
4 mins

At the Seafish Importers Forum held on the 21st June, we were joined by colleagues from the Marine and Fisheries Directorate at Defra. They gave a very interesting presentation on the APEO scheme which, for those who aren’t aware, stands for the ‘Approved Economic Operator’ scheme.

The scheme is targeted at fish importers and means that if you have APEO status then IUU documentation checks (catch certificates, processing statements and storage documents) are not required to be checked at the border (although these documents would still need to be completed and available if requested by Port Health Authorities).

APEO Importers can apply for APEO status through the HMRC website but they first have to apply for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status. Both can be applied for at the same time.

The Marine and Fisheries Directorate are in the process of reviewing the scheme as they believe it can be beneficial to importers. Therefore, they would greatly appreciate some more information from any BFFF members who import fish to aid this review process.

Note: Currently there are no importers with AEO status in the UK!

If you could spare a few minutes, please could you answer the following questions via email to

  • Have you heard of the APEO or AEO schemes?
  • Do you think the scheme would benefit your company?How? (Financially or Time).
  • As an estimate, how many fish imports are you expecting this financial year for which catch certificates are required?
  • The application criteria is 50 imports a year. This is being reviewed and any views you have on this figure or what it should be, would be beneficial. Note: there will need to be checks at premises of these documents at regular intervals, so it must be enough to warrant an official visit.

If you would like to discuss this further with Defra then please do let us know and we would be happy to facilitate that for you.




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