Seafish levy review | Informal consultation response | Seafish

Seafish levy review

We informally consulted industry on changes to the Seafish levy. We've published a response based on industry feedback and next steps in the process.

During our Strategic Review in 2021, the seafood industry told us they wanted a fairer and more equitable Seafish levy system. The industry also told us it needed our support more than ever to deal with the challenges and pressures they face and to help them to thrive into the future.   

Seafish needs levy to operate and provide this support to industry.  

The last change to the levy was in 1999 which is eroding our capacity to deliver the support the industry wants and needs.   

Watch our video to see what we have delivered for industry over the past five years.  

We are proposing changes to the Seafish levy to ensure we can continue to deliver the valuable work we do to help the seafood industry to thrive.   

Currently our levy income is £7.2million per year. To maintain existing services into the future, a levy income of £9.1million per year would be required. To allow us to fully deliver what the industry asked of us during the Strategic Review, we would need £11million per year.  

Overvie of Seafish levy requirements. Current levy income: £7.2 million. Maintain existing services: £9.1 million. Required levy income: £11 million.

The changes will also allow us to increase our support in areas the industry needs such as international trade, climate change, fisheries management, and the safety of the industry. It will also ensure the viability of Seafish into the future.   

Find out more about what the Seafish Levy is:

Proposed changes to the levy

We held informal consultations with the seafood industry in Spring 2023 on proposed changes to the levy. These changes were proposed by the Seafish Board to make the levy fair, equitable and fit for purpose.   

A range of supportive and critical views from the industry were shared in response. The most common themes for the Seafish Board to consider were:  

  • The proposal to continue to exclude salmon from the levy  
  • Business affordability and the need to make levy increases reasonable, especially for lower value species  
  • Potential impact on the price of seafood for consumers    

The Board carefully considered the feedback it received and has made some further revisions to the proposed package of levy changes. These are still proposals, and no decision will be taken by Ministers on amending the levy until after the formal statutory consultation in 2024.  

Levy rates  

For 90% of species, rates would increase by around 10% - from 0.901p per kg to 1p per kg.   

Pelagic species and cockles, mussels and whelks have always had a lower levy rate, and this will continue. We need to ensure levy rates are fair for all businesses, but we took on board feedback during the consultation.  

An open pot of cooked mussels on a picnic bench.
We propose to reduce the levy increase for pelagic species, cockles, mussels and whelks.

We are proposing to reduce the levy increase for these species from 1p per kg to 0.5p per kg. The current levy rate is 0.258p per kg for pelagic species, cockles and mussels, and 0.4151p per kg for whelks. We also propose that for cockles, mussels and pelagic species this increase is phased over three years.

A full list of current rates can be found on the Information for Seafish levy payers page:   

Levy products 

The Seafish Board is proposing that levy would be due on imported canned, bottled or preserved seafood containing any levied species.  

This proposed change is to address the current inequity where products manufactured in the UK attract a levy, but equivalent imported products do not. Our services and products are available to UK manufactured and imported products and this makes that access fairer.   

Non-levy species 

There was strong support to include other species in the levy. However, salmon, trout and other freshwater farmed species are out of scope of the review because they are explicitly excluded under the Fisheries Act 1981.    

an atlantic salmon
Salmon, trout and other freshwater species will remain non-eligible for levy.


An inflationary adjustment of the levy rate by 2% each year is proposed by the Seafish Board, in line with the Bank of England’s long term target rate of inflation. This would ensure levy does not decrease in value over the years.   


The Seafish Board’s preference is to implement a de minimis amount meaning if the levy due is less than £100 per year, a business will be exempt from paying. We estimate that 22% of current levy payers would benefit from this change and no longer need to pay levy.  

We have published a full 'response to the informal consultation' summarising the feedback received and how the Seafish Board has taken account of these views.  

You can download our full response to the levy consultation and a survey analysis via the links below:

Benefits to the industry

An increase in levy will mean that Seafish can continue to work to support the UK seafood industry and increase our support in the areas that businesses have told us are important.  

This added support will include:  

  • Expertise to help businesses across the supply chain to respond and adapt to the climate change emergency.   
  • Helping seafood business to respond to emerging issues from geopolitical or economic events, environmental factors, or consumer issues that influence the demand for seafood.   
  • On the ground fishing safety advisers to support the UK fishing fleet.  
  • More capacity to support businesses to tackle labour issues, whether that’s recruitment challenges or addressing welfare and ethical issues across the supply chain.   
  • More international trade promotion activity and increased regulatory support to overcome import and export trade barriers.    
  • A dedicated fisheries management team that facilitates industry involvement in fisheries management decision making and provides the analysis and advice to enable changes to be made. Any work that Seafish is commissioned to deliver on Fisheries Management Plans for government is not funded from levy.   
  • Supporting the industry in challenging misinformation on issues affecting industry reputation.  
  • Increasing our economic analysis capability to respond to industry queries and expanding our GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping team to offer businesses a spatial analysis service to help decision making.   

 Our 2023-2028 Corporate Plan outlines what we want to deliver for the industry over the next five years, dependent on the levy increase. 

You can watch a personalised video to suit your interests via the link below: 

Next steps and further consultation

Industry will have another opportunity to share their views on the revised proposed changes to the Seafish levy. We are hoping this will happen in Spring 2024.  

Once this formal consultation process concludes it will be up to Ministers to make the final decisions on the levy changes. We don’t expect anything to change before the 2025/2026 financial year.  

Get in touch

For any questions or queries about the levy consultation, please get in touch using the email address below: