Legislation

The UK seafood industry is regulated by a body of legislation designed to protect the consumer and the marine environment.

Legislation in the UK affects everyone involved in the production of seafood, and it is important that individuals involved in the industry are fully aware of the regulations that concern them.

Most legislation is applicable throughout the EU, and some is specific to the UK. Regardless of origin, all regulations in the UK are intended to protect the industry, ensure the safety of seafood, and keep standards high in every sector.

In this section of the site, we have outlined and summarised the most important legislation affecting the seafood industry, and split them into six sections:

We also are involved in marine environmental legislation. There is more information on this in the responsible sourcing section of the website.

We coordinate legislation expert groups to respond to consultations regarding seafood and environmental legislation or policy. You can read more about these here.

 

Traceability and labelling

Seafood traceability and labelling regulations are in place to ensure that seafood can be tracked throughout the supply chain and to ensure it is described accurately to consumers.

Hygiene

New EU food hygiene legislation has been implemented in the UK since 1 January 2006. It affects all businesses involved in the handling of food. This encompasses the whole of the food chain, from fishermen to retailers selling to the final consumer.

Contaminants

Contaminants are any substances found in food that have not been added intentionally.

Veterinary residues

Residues from veterinary medicines used by culturists to treat fish and shellfish can sometimes be detected in seafood.

Import and export

Around 70-80% of the seafood consumed in the UK comes from overseas. The value of UK seafood exported to Europe and beyond amounts to about £1.5 billion every year.

Seafood Regulation Expert Group

The Seafood Regulation Expert Group (SREG) is made up of industry representatives and experts. Group members identify major developments in food and related legislation which may affect the UK seafood industry.

Packaging and waste

Packaging and waste legislation is in place to protect consumers and reduce the seafood industry's carbon footprint.

Consultations

At Seafish, we coordinate responses to consultations regarding legislation which may affect the seafood industry.

Updates

The Seafood legislation team are constantly monitoring developments in legislation affecting seafood and the UK seafood industry.

Monthly newsletters

Seafish publishes a regular newsletter summarising all of the main changes in legislation and other updates into one handy bulletin.

Seafish Brussels

Seafish has a representative in Brussels to ensure the timely and appropriate presentation of key information, evidence and analysis to the UK seafood industry emanating directly from the EU's institutions.