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Vessel licensing

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The fishing license sets out where and when commercial fishing vessels can catch fish, and which fish and the quantities of them that can be caught.

In order to fish commercially for sea fish using a vessel a fishing vessel licence is required.

What is a fishing vessel licence?

In Wales, we are responsible for issuing fishing vessel licenses, on behalf of Ministers. Welsh fishing vessel licences are issued to vessels registered in Welsh ports.  

A licence specifies conditions which must be adhered to by a vessel owner/master/charterer when fishing. It authorises the sea areas in which a vessel can fish and the species of fish that can be targeted. It is a mechanism of control that enables UK Fisheries Administrations to regulate fishing.

Licences are split into length category – for vessels under 10m and those over 10m. Within the length groups there are different categories of licence that specify which stocks of fish can be caught.

Variations to your licence

Licence variations occur to reflect changes in quota limits and closures or openings of sea areas for the various fisheries during the lifetime of a licence.

How do you obtain a fishing vessel licence?

To enable a vessel to be licensed, it must first be registered as a fishing vessel via the Registrar of Shipping & Seamen in Cardiff, UK Ship Register (UKSR).

Most vessels are sold along with their license as part of a single package and it is therefore a simple matter of transferring the details between owners.

No new fishing vessel licences are created. If a vessel has no license then one must be obtained. To obtain a licence for the first time, an entitlement has to be secured from a current licence holder. An entitlement is created when a licence is no longer attached to an active fishing vessel.

If you are in doubt as to whether you require a fishing vessel licence, or what type of licence best suits your needs, then please contact the Milford Haven Fishery Office.

Tel no: 0300 025 3500