Formal industry consultation to revise levy structure begins | News | Seafish

Formal industry consultation to revise levy structure begins

Call for industry feedback for first levy change since 1999.
Two workers on a production line at a seafood processing factory.

We have started formal consultation with levy payers and the wider seafood industry on proposals for a new levy model.  

Levy is due on the first sale of seafood, both domestically landed and imported, in the UK. It is not charged on farmed salmon, trout, and freshwater fish species because these species are excluded by primary legislation. Nor is it currently charged on canned, bottled, and pouched seafood products.  

The levy collected is used to provide support, advice and services across the whole UK seafood supply chain.  

During our Strategic Review in 2021, the seafood industry recognised the need for a review of the levy system given it had not changed since 1999. There was general agreement that an improved levy model was needed to ensure we had a stable financial model and could continue to provide the support industry needs, now and into the future.  

The Seafish Board held informal consultations with the seafood industry in spring 2023 on proposed changes to the levy system. In December 2023 the Board released a response to the Informal Consultation which set out how it had considered the feedback received from stakeholders and had revised the package of levy amendments in response.  

The Seafish Board is now holding the statutory consultation on the proposed changes. The consultation will be open for twelve weeks until Friday 9 August.  

We are collecting feedback via an independent online survey and anyone with an interest in the Seafish levy as well as the wider seafood industry are invited to respond. We will also be hosting a series of webinars for stakeholders interested in learning more about the proposed changes. 

Information on the consultation, which consists of the Formal Consultation Paper (available in Welsh and English), the draft Regulation, and an Economic Impact Assessment can be downloaded here.  

The proposed changes to the Seafish levy include:  

  • The current sea fish levy rate of 0.903p/kg will be increased to 1p/kg. This will be renamed the “Category 1” levy.  
  • The current levy rate that applies to mussels, cockles, and pelagic fish (as defined in regulation) will increase from 0.258p/kg to 0.5p/kg over a three-year period.   
  • The current levy rate for whelks will increase from 0.4515p/kg to 0.5p/kg  
  • The levy for mussels, cockles, pelagic fish (as defined in regulation) and whelks will be renamed the “Category 2” levy.    
  • The levy rates for manufactured fishmeal and ‘fish destined for’ fishmeal will also increase, as follows:  
    • Manufactured fishmeal will increase from 0.175p/kg to 0.315p/kg.   
    • Fish destined for fishmeal will increase from 0.035p/kg to 0.05p/kg.     
  • For the first time levy will apply to canned, bottled, and pouched seafood products, for those species within the scope of the levy.    
  • The levy for all seafood and seafood products would be adjusted annually, subject to a cap on the annual adjustment of 2%.   
  • Minor changes to the administration of the levy to make collection and payment more efficient.  
After our informal consultation last year, we have taken industry feedback on board and made further revisions to refine the proposed levy adjustments. It is our priority to make the levy fit for purpose, fairer for all and ensure we can continue to deliver the support industry have told us they need, now and in the future.  
While we appreciate that the seafood industry is under financial pressure, our proposed changes strike a good balance, minimising impacts on the industry while allowing us to effectively support the seafood sector as an organisation. 
This consultation is an important step in shaping a levy that better serves our stakeholders.
Mike Sheldon, Chair of the Seafish Board

Once this formal consultation process ends, we will make formal recommendations to government, and these will be considered by relevant Ministers across the UK Government and the Devolved administrations. There is not a timeframe for when Ministers will reach a decision yet, but businesses will have as much notice as possible before any changes come into effect so that they can plan ahead.     

Any queries about the consultation should be sent to