Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

EU fishing vessel access to the UK waters as of 1 January 2021


'Flag of convenience' trawler in Newlyn.

Guidance United Kingdom Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) The UKSIA manages UK domestic fishing vessel access to non-UK waters and foreign vessel access to UK waters.

UK Vessels

Foreign vessels Contact the SIA Approved UK Vessels Approved EU Vessels Devolved Administrations Print this page

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is acting as the UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) to issue fishing vessel licences on behalf of the UK sea fish licensing authorities of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to manage UK fishing vessel access to non-UK waters, and foreign vessel access to UK waters. This will not affect the administration of your base domestic licence.

The UK is an independent coastal state and vessels from the EU and other coastal states wishing to access UK waters will require a fishing vessel licence issued by the SIA.

In addition to their UK licence, UK vessels will require an external waters licence to fish in the waters of the EU. Access to the waters of other coastal states including Norway and the Faroe Islands, and in waters under the auspices of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) remain subject to negotiations.

The UK fisheries authorities (Marine Scotland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, Welsh Government and the Marine Management Organisation) remain responsible for the administration and management of UK vessel licensing within the UK EEZ.

UK Vessels 

From 1 January 2021 you will need an external waters licence to fish outside of the UK EEZ or ‘British Fishery Limits’, which can be found here.

EU waters 

Initially, the SIA will issue licences for eligible UK and EU vessels to fish in each other’s respective 12 – 200 nautical mile zones. These are being processed and will be issued electronically where an email address has been provided, otherwise these will be issued by post. The list of UK vessels has been published below with a copy of the licence conditions.

If your vessel is on the list but you have not received a licence please contact the SIA via the email address below.

If your vessel is not on this list and you wish to apply for an external waters licence, please complete the application form and submit to the SIA via the email address below.

SIA Application to fish in Third Country Waters 

Licensing of UK vessels and EU vessels to fish in each other’s 6 – 12 nautical mile zones will be issued later, once the eligibility criteria have been confirmed.

Norway and Faroe Islands waters Access to waters of Norway and the Faroe Islands waters remain subject to negotiations. UK vessels identified as having previously operated in Norwegian and Faroese waters have been contacted directly by SIA to verify their details. If you have not heard from SIA and think you should have, please email UKSIA@marinemanagement.org.uk with your vessel name, RSS Number, PLN, IMO Number and any further information you wish to provide.

General provisions for UK vessels Until you are issued a valid licence for the waters in which you intend to operate you must not fish and all fishing gear must be lashed and stowed if transiting.

If you have not notified your Sea Fish Licensing Authority or the SIA of a valid email address, or your email address has changed, you must send this to UKSIA@marinemanagement.org.uk along with your vessel name, RSS number and PLN and we will update our records. In future, licences will only be issued by email.

Vessels 12 metres and over in length must have an International Maritime Organization (IMO) number and permanently mark this in a visible place either on the ship’s hull or superstructure. If you do not already have a IMO number you can apply for free at http://imonumbers.ihs.com. You must notify the UK SIA of your IMO number by emailing it to UKSIA@marinemanagement.org.uk along with your vessel name, RSS number and PLN and we will update our records accordingly.

Foreign vessels 

From 1 January 2021 all foreign vessels must have a valid foreign vessel licence issued by the UK SIA to fish in the UK EEZ or ‘British Fishery Limits’, which can be found below. 



EU Vessels 

The UK has issued a temporary foreign vessel licence for access to the UK’s EEZ (12 – 200 nautical mile limit). Vessels on the UK’s EU Vessel list are licensed to fish in accordance with the UK’s Foreign Vessel Licence.

General Provisions for all Foreign vessels Until you are issued a valid licence for fishing in the UK EEZ you must not fish and all fishing gear must be lashed and stowed if transiting. Enquiries regarding the licensing process for UK waters must be directed to your flag state fisheries authority.

Contact the SIA You can reach the SIA via telephone on 0208 026 5062 or email UKSIA@marinemanagement.org.uk with your name, telephone number, vessel name and PLN number and a brief outline of your enquiry and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible.

Approved UK Vessels 

Below is a list of UK vessels for which external waters licences have been approved. If your vessel does not appear on this list, or you wish to apply for an external waters licence, please contact the SIA using the details above.

UK vessel list for EU waters 

UK vessel - external waters 

Approved EU Vessels 

Below is a list of EU vessels for which a temporary foreign vessel licence has been issued in respect of the UK’s EEZ (12-200nm limit) and a copy of the Foreign vessel licence and conditions.

EU vessel list for UK waters 

UK Temporary Foreign Vessel Licence (EU vessels) 20201231 

Published 31 December 2020 Last updated 2 January 2021 — see all updates From: Marine Management Organisation Contents