Guidance: United Kingdom Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA)

Marine Management Organisation

October 14
16:02 2021

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 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) currently 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 vessels will require 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.

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.

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 with your vessel name, RSS Number, PLN, IMO Number and any further information you wish to provide.

RFMO Waters

If you intend to operate in the waters of an Regional Fisheries Management Organisation RFMO you will need a specific external waters licence in addition to your base domestic licence. Apply using the form below and submit to the SIA.

The relevant RFMO conditions below apply to those vessels appearing on the UK vessel list for external waters below with a corresponding positive entry in the columns headed NEAFC Waters Access or IOTC Waters Access (only at this time). Your foreign vessel licence is subject to licence conditions. It is your responsibility to ensure you are aware of the licence conditions and any variations made to them.

NEAFC Vessel Licence Conditions (UK Vessels)

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need aversion of this document in a more accessible format, please email tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Related Articles


  1. We don't have any comments for this article yet. Why not join in and start a discussion.

Write a Comment

Your name:
Your email:

Post my comment

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This

Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: