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Updated information for commercial fishers, merchants and exporters on fishing and exporting after 1 January 2021 is now available.

Fisheries: preparing for 1 January 2021

The UK and EU have concluded the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and now the UK is an independent coastal state.

Under that agreement, provisional catch limits for fishermen in the UK will be set shortly.

This is to ensure fishing continues uninterrupted until annual fisheries negotiations with the EU, Norway and Faroe Islands conclude.

To continue to export fish and seafood products to the EU here are things you need to do.

Support for fisheries and aquaculture

The Welsh Government has launched schemes to help the fishing and aquaculture sectors deal with the impacts of Brexit and Covid

The Welsh Aquaculture Seafood Resilience Scheme is now open to applications.

The Welsh Fisheries Seafood Resilience Scheme is open to applications from Welsh vessel owners.

Both schemes close on 31 March.

Register as a food operator

Make sure vessels who supply you directly or indirectly have registered as a food business operator and have had their vessel inspected by their local authority (LA) or port health authority (PHA).

To export to the EU and move such products to NI from January 2021 an Export Health Certificate (EHC) is needed. For that to be secured, vessel compliance with the hygiene regulations is required. Welsh vessel owners were written to last year to remind them of the legislation and the need to first register as a food business operator and second, for a vessel inspection to be undertaken.

To ensure trade continues, we recommend you check now with your suppliers that an inspection has been undertaken, and if not suggest they contact their LA/PHA to arrange one.

Online registration for Export Health Certificates

Before an application for an Export Health Certificate can be made, you will need first to register with the EHC on-line via the Government Gateway.

Guidance on Export Health Certificates on GOV.UK.

New certificates for exporting fish

Two new Animal Health Regulation Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for fish have been published 8361 and 8364. These must be used from 21 August 2021.

8361 replaces 8270: this is to be used for live fish, live crustaceans and products of animal origin from those animals intended for human consumption.

8364 replaces 8249: this is to be used for bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods and products of animal origin from those animals intended for human consumption.

Live fish, crustaceans and products from these animals intended for human consumption to the European Union and Northern Ireland: certificate 8361 on GOV.UK

Live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates, marine gastropods and products from these animals intended for human consumption to the European Union and Northern Ireland: certificate 8364 on GOV.UK

Summary of main changes

  • The most significant change concerns who is permitted to certify (sign) the EHC. Interpretation of the EU rules is that if the product is of aquaculture origin, and is intended for further processing in the EU, and the species is listed in the legislation, an Official Veterinarian (OV) [rather than a Food Competent Certifying Officer] must certify. Therefore, an OV must certify when Part.II.2 of the EHC is not deleted. The list of species covered by this requirement is included in the Annex to EU regulation 2018/1882. Examples of listed fish and shellfish include named species of Salmon (e.g. Atlantic) and Trout (e.g. Rainbow), all decapod crustaceans, and European Flat Oysters.
  • In addition, where certain named fish, or shellfish may act as a vector species, as they live in proximity to a listed species, they are also covered by this regulation. For example, the common edible cockle is named as a disease vector species for the European flat oyster and would require OV certification where they are in contact with (co-habiting or sharing a water supply) with European flat oysters.
  • There is also a requirement for veterinary oversight of aquaculture premises to certify the animal health status of the site and in certain circumstances (for example the export of un-eviscerated listed dead fish from aquaculture) a requirement for clinical investigation within 72 hours of loading by an OV.

Listing of approved establishments and registered cold stores

From January 2021, approved establishments need to be listed with the European Commission (EC) to export fishery products to the EU and or NI, or to supply others that use such products in commodities that are exported to the EU and or NI. Fishery products will need to be dispatched to the EU and or NI from an establishment listed by the EC for export purposes. Approval of an establishment is determined by activities undertaken at the establishment. Not all food business activities need to be approved and you should discuss this with your LA.

If you trade with the EU and or NI please check if your establishment is on the current list of approved establishments.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will automatically put forward all currently approved establishments for listing with the EC. As of January, the process to get onto the EC list will take up to 20 working days. If your establishment is not listed and needs to be, notify the FSA as soon as possible and by 30 November 2020 at the latest via email to

Register for the Fish Export Service

UK exporters will be required to obtain a validated Catch Certificate from the Fish Export Service for most fish and fish products that are exported to the EU from January 2021. To help you prepare we are offering you the opportunity to register now, if you have not done so already, in advance of the testing and familiarisation phase due to launch in the coming weeks. It is free to enrol and takes only a few minutes. All you need to do is sign in using the Government Gateway and follow the instructions.

In November we will be inviting businesses that have registered to use the digital self-service system to begin using the system (which will be in dummy mode) as part of our efforts to make sure you are as well prepared as possible to operate with the revised trading conditions. 

Please take the chance to help us to help you get prepared.

UK Catch Certificates for export will be required whatever the outcome of any ongoing negotiations, if you have not previously registered for the Fish Export Service we urge you to sign up now. We will use your registration details to provide you with further information on exporting fish and seafood products to the EU from 2021.

Businesses that are unable to complete the registration process online, or need assisted digital support, will be able to sign up by phone from mid-November. Details will be published in due course.

There are some exempt products which will not require a Catch Certificate. These include farmed fish and shellfish, freshwater fish, some molluscs (including mussels, cuttlefish, cockles, oysters, and scallops), fish fry or larvae. Further details on exemptions on GOV.UK.

Sign up for Brexit transition email updates on GOV.UK.

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Further information

Full exporting guidance on GOV.UK.

Fisheries: preparing for 1 January 2021
Information for food and drink producers on
Give prior notification to land fish in the EU on GOV.UK
Make a pre-landing declaration to land fish in an EU port on GOV.UK
Catch certificates for non-EU imports and exports of fish on GOV.UK
Catch recording: Frequently asked questions
How to complete a fishing vessel paper logbook
Fishing vessel paper logbook: frequently asked questions
How to complete a fishing vessel electronic logbook
Fishing vessel electronic logbook: frequently asked questions

Wellbeing support

It’s important that everyone takes care of their personal wellbeing. These organisations support the fisheries sector:

The Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L) is a dedicated mental health helpline for Wales. They provide confidential listening and emotional support.

Phone 0800 132 737
Text ‘help’ to 81066

The Fishermen’s Mission provides emergency support and practical care to fishermen and their families. It can provide emergency grants for people in need, and access to other grant makers.

Phone 01489 566910

Dewis Cymru has information and advice on well-being issues. Available to people across Wales, it has contact details for local organisations and services that can help with well-being issues.


The Samaritans can be contacted 24-hours a day for free on 116 123

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