Rules regarding EU fishery landings in UK: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

“Under the freedom of information could you please tell me the rules about EU FISH LANDINGS IN UK ,,if a EU boat lands in a UK port , unloads fish onto a EU lorry on the quay side ,who does the checks to make sure all is above board,,,,, I presume in UK its the MMO AND in Scotland its MS is this correct”


As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

The answer to your question is that since 1st January 2021 all foreign vessels are required to have a valid foreign vessel licence issued by the UK Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) to fish in UK waters. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) acts as the UKSIA to issue fishing vessel licences on behalf of the Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to manage UK fishing vessel access to non-UK waters, and foreign vessel access to UK waters United Kingdom Single Issuing Authority (UKSIA) - GOV.UK ( Applications for EU vessels to fish in UK waters are submitted by the European Commission to the UKSIA on behalf of EU Member States and appropriate checks are made before an application is approved. Applications for EU vessels to fish in UK waters are submitted by the European Commission to the UKSIA on behalf of EU Member States and appropriate checks are made before an application is approved.

Marine Directorate of the Scottish Government is responsible for ensuring compliance with fisheries regulations by all fishing vessels operating within the Scottish zone (as defined by the Fishery Limits Act 1976 and the Scotland Act 1998) out to 200 nautical miles (nm) off Scotland.

Officers of Marine Directorate carry out inspections of fishing vessels, including those of EU Member States, that land into Scottish ports. Landings made into ports in other parts of the UK are inspected by officers of the relevant UK fishing administration, namely the MMO for English ports, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for Northern Irish ports, and Welsh Government for Welsh ports.

Analysis of the data submitted in relation to landings of fishing vessels may also be undertaken by the country the vessel is administered by and/or the country the fish is being sold to. Inspections of the lorry and its contents may also be made during it’s journey by the relevant authority as part of export checks.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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