Press release

Fishing regulations as the UK leaves the EU

Fishing industry will need to adhere to existing regulations until the end of the transition period.

Mousehole Fishing Village Near Penzance in Cornwall, England

Mousehole Fishing Village Near Penzance in Cornwall, England

The UK will be actively negotiating new trading and fisheries agreements with the EU and other third countries during this transition period, up to December 31st 2020. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is reminding the fishing industry that the UK will continue to abide by the current rules, which apply to all UK, EU and other vessels fishing in UK waters, throughout this period.

The regulations are designed to keep fish stocks at sustainable levels to protect the marine environment and support the viability of fishing businesses now and in the future.

The MMO is responsible for managing fishing opportunities and ensuring compliance with the regulations that protect fisheries in English waters.

The MMO undertakes compliance monitoring through data and intelligence gathering and surveillance operations at sea and in port, using regular aerial and offshore patrols by dedicated aircraft and patrol vessels. Its 150 operational staff, predominantly based in coastal offices around England, continue to work with the fishing industry to improve understanding of the regulations as well as monitoring activity and where necessary boarding and inspecting vessels.

Michael Coyle, Head of Compliance and Control at the MMO, says: “It’s important that anyone planning to fish in UK waters from January 31st 2020 is aware that there is no change in regulation at this stage and all they need to do is ensure they continue to comply with the existing rules.”

“Those who break the rules disadvantage hard working fishermen and their businesses who are committed to seeing thriving fish stocks for the future so it’s important we maintain a strong presence and deterrent.”

Any changes that may come about through the new negotiated arrangements will be communicated in advance of becoming operational.

The MMO will provide businesses with the information required to prepare to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021 but in the meantime, for information on the transition click here.

Further Information

In compliance with the UK’s obligations under UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), the UK’s territorial sea limit, Exclusive Economic Zone, international maritime boundaries and 6 and 12 nautical mile fish limits can be found on the UK Hydrographic Office’s ADMIRALTY Standard Nautical Charts and Electronic Navigational Charts. These can be obtained from an international network of ADMIRALTY Chart Agents. You can find a list of these agents and their locations here.

For illustrative purposes, diagrams and shape files (digital data files) are available on the UKHO’s ADMIRALTY Marine Data Portal.

Published 28 January 2020