Guidance

Understand your fishing vessel licence

How to understand each part of your fishing vessel licence – vessel details, conditions, schedule, annex and their current copies.

Understanding your vessel licence

Your fishing vessel licence is in several parts. You must read each part carefully to make sure you understand the terms attached to it and that they are correct for your fishing activity.

Contact your local Marine Management Organisation (MMO) office with any questions and notify them immediately if any of the details are incorrect.

An incorrect licence is invalid and you could be liable to penalties.

It is your responsibility to check your licence documents before going to sea as licences can be changed at any time. MMO publishes variations online and notifies those who have provided their contact information.

You can provide MMO with up to 2 emails, mobile phone numbers, or both, as a way of getting direct alerts about changes. You can receive notifications yourself, but it may make sense to nominate someone based onshore who can contact you on your vessel quickly.

Variations are considered to have been received when they are published online. You are required, as part of your licence conditions, to check each week for any changes.

Part 1: Vessel details

This part includes:

  • category of licence
  • official licence number
  • characteristics of your vessel
  • registered owners
  • specific authorities for scallop dredging, beam trawl fishing, fish for shellfish with pots, fixed nets or both
  • membership of a fish producer organisation

Part 2: Conditions

This specifies how your vessel will fish. You may be directed to make landings at certain ports and times.

Part 3: Schedule

This sets out the authority under which you are allowed to fish.

Part 4: Annex

This lists species that you are not permitted to fish and any catch limits for stocks that you are able to fish and land.

Fishing vessel licences: 10 metre and under vessels - non-sector

These are vessels 10-metres-and-under that don’t belong to a producer organisation.

Uncapped licences for the non-sector and Isle of Man have the same conditions and schedules, and their own specific annexes.

Capped licences for the non-sector have the same conditions, schedule and annex.

Fishing vessel licences: 10 metre and under vessels - sector

All vessels that are members of a producer organisation have the same conditions and schedule.

They each have their own specific annexes.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Category A

All Category A vessels have the same conditions and schedule.

There are specific annexes for vessels in the non-sector, Isle of Man, and each producer organisation.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Category A (Islands)

There are no producer organisation vessels that are Category A (Islands) vessels. All Category A (Islands) vessels are in the non-sector and have the same conditions, schedule and annex.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Category A (Pelagic)

All Category A vessels have the same conditions and schedule.

There are specific annexes for vessels in each producer organisation. There are no Category A (Pelagic) non-sector vessels.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Category B

All Category B vessels have the same conditions and schedule.

There are specific annexes for vessels in the non-sector, Isle of Man, and each producer organisation.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Category C

All Category C vessels have the same conditions and schedule.

There are specific annexes for vessels in the non-sector, Isle of Man, and each producer organisation.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Deep sea species

All deep sea species vessels have the same conditions and schedule.

There are specific annexes for vessels in the non-sector and each producer organisation.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Handline mackerel

There are no producer organisation vessels with handline mackerel conditions and schedules. There is no annex.

Fishing vessel licences: over 10 metre vessels - Thames and Blackwater

There are no producer organisation vessels with these conditions and schedules. There is no annex.

Single licence category for the over ten metre fleet segment in Scotland.

Marine Scotland have created a single licence category for the over ten metre fleet segment in Scotland.

Different licence categories will remain in existence in England after 30 June 2017. Category B or C licence entitlements transferring from Scotland will be received as a Category B or C as they were prior to 1 July 2017.

Scottish licences created through disaggregation or aggregation in Scotland after 30 June 2017 will be tracked back to the lowest common denominator and received accordingly on transfer to England. For example a licence aggregation between an ex-Category B and an ex-Category A licence in Scotland will be received in England as a Category B licence.

Application to change UK fisheries administration

This application to change UK fisheries administration (ODT, 40.1KB) form must be completed by the vessel owner(s) who wish to request the change of administration from England to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Latent capacity licence monitoring

In 2015 Defra carried out an exercise to address latent capacity in the English under 10m fleet. A number of licences had their finfish licence capped at 350kgs and/or had their shellfish permit temporarily suspended. This exercise included an appeals process. Some appeals were successful but subject to a monitoring period of 2 years.

This period drew to an end in most cases on 31 December 2017. Defra officials will be seeking to review this policy in 2018. In the interim all licences subject to monitoring will continue to be able to fish to the limits as set out in their current licence until further notice.

If you have any queries please contact the Defra Helpline on 0345 933 5577 or email fisheriesreform@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

Further information

More information on:

Published 11 June 2014
Last updated 18 January 2019 + show all updates
  1. PDFs updated
  2. Annexes updated
  3. Annexes updated in line with variation published 03 January 2019
  4. Documents updated
  5. 2019 annexes updated
  6. Schedules updated to reflect variation published 29 November 2018
  7. Annexes updated
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  10. 9199 and 4599 updated
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  15. Annexes updated in line with variation published 20 September 2018
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  20. Annexes updated in line with variation dated 25 August 2018
  21. Annexes updated in line with variation dated 16 August 2018
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  24. Annexes updated in line with variation dated 01 July 2018
  25. Application to change UK fisheries administration form added
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  29. PDF updated
  30. Annexe 1199 and 1299 updated
  31. Annexes updated
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  33. Annexes updated in line with variation published 20 April 2018
  34. Annexes added for variation effective 18 April 2018
  35. Documents updated
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  37. Annexe 4599 and 9199 updated
  38. Documents updated
  39. Annexes updated
  40. licence variation for under 10 metre vessels
  41. Bass variation added
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  44. Variations effective from 00:01 hours, Sunday 14 January 2018 added
  45. Latent capacity licence update
  46. 2018 annexes added
  47. Annexe 119 updated
  48. Annexes updated in line with variation dated 18 December 2017
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  253. Annexes changed to reflect restrictions in bass fishing
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  284. Updates to conditions and schedules for licences 11,12, 17, 31, 41
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  288. Annexes updated as per variation dated 30 January 2015
  289. annex updated due to variation dated 22 January 2014
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  292. Changes to annexes 111, 171, 911
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  294. updated to reflect licence variation effective 00.01 on Thursday 1 January 2015
  295. Changes to annex 119
  296. Changes to annexe 9199
  297. Changes to annexes in line with variation dated 14 December
  298. Changes to annexes in line with variation dated 5 December 2014
  299. updated a number of documents following licence variation (9199, 1199, 1299 and 3199).
  300. annexes updated to match variation
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  302. Updated to match variation issued 31 October
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  310. Updated a number of annexes to reflect licence variation effective 22 September
  311. Updated annex for licence 112
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  316. annexes updated according to licence variation dated 15 August 2014
  317. Licence annexes updated in association with licence variation issued 8 August 2014
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  319. Licence annexes uploaded in line with variation
  320. Schedules updated
  321. First published.