Guidance: United Kingdom Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA)

Marine Management Organisation

June 25
11:50 2024


The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is acting as the UK Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) 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.

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 UKSIA.

In addition to their UK licence, UK vessels require external waters licences to fish in waters outside of British Fishery Limits, including waters of the European Union and other coastal states such as Norway and the Faroe Islands, and in the waters of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) to which the UK is a contracting party.

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 vessels have been required to hold an external waters licence to fish outside of British Fishery Limits (UK EEZ). Before applying for an external waters licence, please check that the area you intend to operate is outside of British Fishery Limits. View the map. Access for UK vessels to Crown Dependencies (CDs) territorial seas is through the relevant CDs who issue these fishing licences.

General Provisions for UK vessels

Applications for external waters licences must include a valid email address to which the licence will be issued and, for vessels 12m and over in length, an International Maritime Organization (IMO) number. Vessels will not be licensed without this information. 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 your administration portalong with your vessel name, RSS number and PLN and we will update our records.

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 ships hull or superstructure. If you do not already have an IMO number, you can apply for free at You must notify the UK SIA of your IMO number by emailing it to your administration port along with your vessel name, RSS number and PLN and we will update our records accordingly.

EU waters

Fishing by UK vessels in EU waters is subject to authorisation by the European Commission and requires a valid external licence issued by the UKSIA. 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 UKSIA via the email address in the Contact the SIA section on this page.

If you intend to operate outside of British Fishery Limits and wish to apply for an external waters licence, please complete the application form and submit to the SIA via the email address in the Contact the SIA section on this page.

Access to Republic of Ireland 0-6nm

Northern Irish vessels are only permitted to access waters within 0 and 6 nautical miles of the territorial sea adjacent to the Republic of Ireland if expressly authorised at Part 1 section 3 of their UK external waters licence.

UK fishing vessel licensing in Norwegian waters 2024

Access to waters of Norway

Access to waters of Norway and the fishery protection zone around Svalbard have been agreed for 2024. Vessels with access to the relevant fishing opportunities can apply for an external waters licence by completing the application form below and submitting it UKSIA will verify applications with your fisheries administration and forward valid applications to the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate for approval. Upon receipt of approval the UKSIA will issue the external waters licence by email.

Please complete the application form at this link send it to the UKSIA

You can apply at any time but you cannot undertake activity in Norwegian waters until you are in receipt of a valid external waters licence issued by the UKSIA and your vessel appears in the list of authorised vessels

If you have any queries please contact the UKSIA call 02080265062 or visit the UKSIA websiteUnited Kingdom Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) - GOV.UK (

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