Registration of buyers and sellers

Buyers and sellers of first sale fish landed in the UK need to be registered with Fisheries Departments.

To help combat the landing of illegally caught fish from European Waters, fisheries control measures require buyers and sellers of first sale fish (which includes shellfish) landed in the UK to be registered with UK fisheries authorities. This also includes designated fish markets were fish is first sold.

Registered buyers and sellers must complete and provide sales notes giving details of fish bought or sold to UK fisheries authorities.

This must be done electronically for businesses with an annual turnover of more than €200,000 (Euro).

You need to register as a buyer if you buy first sale fish direct from a fishing vessel or agent but not if you are buying fish at a designated auction site. Fish purchased from a fish merchant or wholesale market are unlikely to be first sale. You are also exempt if up to 30kg of fish is bought for personal consumption.

The need to register includes anyone, including fishmongers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and foreign buyers making local purchases direct from fishermen.

You need to register as a seller if you sell fish at a designated auction site.

Separate registration is required for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, buyers and sellers operating in more than one country need only declare this on one application form as the fisheries authority which receives it will pass this on to the relevant departments.

The requirements apply to all first sales of fish in the UK including fish landed from other Member State fishing vessels and fish landed by a UK vessel in another Member State and transported back to the UK for first sale.

As this is a fisheries control measure it does not apply to aquaculture.

In England the Marine Management Organisation provides more detailed guidance (here) on buyers and sellers of first-sale fish and submission of sales notes. This includes application forms for registered status as a buyer or seller of first-sale fish (including shellfish) in the UK. It also includes an application form for the designation of premises as an auction site together with access to the online electronic sales note system.

Information is also provided by Marine Scotland (here) and the Welsh Government (here).