Information for Seafish levy payers

The page contains important information for those who pay the Seafish levy including who is liable and how to calculate what you should pay.

What is a sea fish?

Any kind of fish found in the sea including shellfish regardless of whether wild caught or farmed.  This includes parts of sea fish.

Who pays the Seafish levy?

Seafish levy is due on the first hand purchase of fish, shellfish, sea fish products, and fishmeal within the UK. This means that levy is due when:

  • Buying off local boats/pickers
  • Buying from a foreign supplier
  • Buying from a 'farm', such as oyster growers, mussel growers, etc.
  • Sea fish landed by UK fishing vessels, farmers, growers, and cultivators is subsequently sold overseas.

I think I may be liable for levy. What should I do?

Contact the Levy Auditor for your area who will discuss the levy with you, and if necessary arrange to meet with you to explain how to complete the levy paperwork and pay. 

You can use the contacts listed at the bottom of the page or you can put your Postcode in the Excel document below to find out who audits the Levy in your area. 

Importing fish or shellfish which has been farmed in fresh water/brackish water

If this is a sea water species levy will be due.

Please note there are non-sea fish species, such as Macrobrachium Rosenbergii or Procambrius Clarkii which are excluded from levy. If in doubt, get in touch with your Levy Auditor. 

Additional weight of ice glaze on frozen products

You should only pay levy on the actual fish content, so if 10% of the total weight is ice glaze then you should deduct this element from the total weight (unless glaze compensated). Please note that unless it is stated on the invoice, your levy auditor may request evidence to support a deduction for ice glaze, such as product specification, letter from supplier, etc.

Additional weight of non-fish elements such as additives, breadcrumbs or sauces

You should only pay levy on the actual fish content, so you need to establish the percentage of non-fish product and deduct this from the weight which you declare on your levy return. Please note that unless it is stated on the invoice, your levy auditor may request evidence to support a deduction, such as product specification, letter from supplier, etc.

Can the cost of the levy be passed on to your customers? 

Unless you are specifically acting as a fish salesman on behalf of Seafish, you cannot directly recover the cost of the Levy from your customers.

What species are considered to be pelagic?

The only pelagic species for the purposes of levy are:

  • Herring
  • Sprat
  • Pilchard
  • Sardine
  • Scad
  • Whitebait
  • Blue Whiting
  • Capelin
  • Silver Smelt
  • Mackerel (Scomber and Scombermorous only)

What is a fillet?

For the purpose of the levy return a fillet is the whole side of a fish, (both sides in the case of block fillets) and parts thereof including loins (except Tuna, Shark, Marlin etc, see below), Tails, Goujons, Chunks, and portions taken from a fillet.

What are the current rates of Levy?

The rates below are correct as of September 2020. These are intended as a guide, and are not exhaustive. If you have any doubts about which Levy Definition Code you should use, please contact your Levy Auditor.

You can download and save this information as PDF:

White fish (fresh, frozen and chilled)

 Levy definition code  Rate per Kilogram (KG)  Products
Whole or gutted 0.9030p Whole white fish. For example, Haddock, Cod, Plaice, Bass, Bream, Pollock etc.
Headless and gutted 1.2040p Headless white fish including Monkfish tails (skin on)
Fillets, Skin on 1.8060p
  • White fish fillets with skin on including loins, tails (not Monkfish), blocks, goujons, chunks, portions. 
  • Paired fillets (White skin removed, Black skin on) should be charged at 50% Skin on Fillet and 50% Skinless
Fillets, Skinless 2.2575p
  • White fish fillets with skin removed including loins, tails (not Monkfish), blocks, goujons, chunks, portions. 
  • Paired fillets (White skin removed, Black skin on) should be charged at 50% Skin on Fillet and 50% Skinless

 White fish (smoked)

Levy definition code Rate per Kilogram (KG) Products
Headless and gutted 1.5050p Smoked white fish. For example, smoked Haddock or Halibut
Fillets, Skin on 2.2575p Smoked white fish
Fillets, Skinless 2.4080p Smoked white fish

White fish (all other products)

Levy definition code Rate per Kilogram (KG) Products
Any other white fish products 1.8060p
  • Formed fillets using nape/belly flap.
  • Surimi, White fish Roe, Cod cheeks, minced white fish, Skinless Monkfish tails, Blocks  made from Bits & Pieces,
  • Dogfish backs, Skate wings,
  • Tuna/Marlin/Sailfish/Swordfish Loins, Chunks and Steaks

Pelagic fish (fresh, frozen and chilled)

Levy definition code Rate per Kilogram (KG) Products
Whole or gutted 0.2580p Whole pelagic fish. This includes mackerel (not Indian Mackerel), herring, sprat, pilchard, sardine, scad, whitebait
Headless and gutted 0.3440p Headless pelagic fish
Fillets, Skin on 0.5160p Pelagic fillets with skin on
Fillets, Skinless 0.6450p Pelagic fillets with skin removed

Pelagic fish (smoked products)

Levy definition code Rate per Kilogram (KG) Products
Headless and gutted 0.4300p Smoked pelagic fish. This includes kippers as there is no smoked rate for whole fish under Pelagic
Fillets, Skin on 0.6450p Smoked pelagic fish
Fillets, Skinless  0.6880p Smoked pelagic fish

Pelagic fish (all other products)

Levy definition code Rate per Kilogram (KG) Products
Any other pelagic fish 0.5160p Minced, fish roe and herring milk

Shellfish

Levy definition code Rate per Kilogram (KG) Products
Cockles or Mussels - whole 0.2580p Whole Mussels and Cockles
Whelks - whole 0.4515p Whole Whelks
Cockles, Mussels and Whelks - not whole 0.9030p Cockle meat, Mussel meat, Whelk Meat, Half shell Mussels.
Other shellfish - whole 0.9030p

Whole or live: Prawns, Shrimps,  Langoustines,  Lobster,  Crab, Clams, Scallops, Octopus, Squid.

Other shellfish - not whole 1.8060p Scallop Meat, Half Shell Scallops, Clam Meat, Crab Meat, Squid rings, Lobster tails, Langoustine Tails, Peeled Prawns, Headless Prawns, Stuffed Squid, etc

Other products

 Levy definition code  Rate per Kilogram (KG)
 Fish sold for fishmeal production 0.0350p
 Imported fishmeal  0.1750p
 Salted and cured fish - wet 0.7525p
 Salted and cured fish - dried 1.1288p

Are there any exceptions to the levy?

Yes, levy is not due on any freshwater species and salmon/migratory trout.

This includes the following:

  • Pangasius/Basa - freshwater species
  • Tilapia - freshwater species
  • Crayfish/freshwater prawn - freshwater species
  • Salmon - exempt by the fisheries act
  • Sea Trout - exempt by the fisheries act
  • Trout - freshwater species
  • Perch - freshwater species
  • Carp - freshwater species

There are many freshwater species of fish from around the world which are not due levy. If in doubt, contact your Levy Auditor or refer to Fishbase for guidance.

Further information

Please note that information on this page is intended as a guide, and for more comprehensive answers you should contact the Levy team.

You can also refer to the following legislation and regulations on the Gov.Uk website: 

Get in touch

If you have any questions about how much you should be paying, get in touch with one of the Levy team.

Mark Harrison
Levy Manager and Auditor - London and South East England
m:
07966 585765
Mark Pentland
Levy Auditor - Scotland and Northern Ireland
m:
07943 084566
Luke Osbon
Levy Auditor - North Wales and England (Excl London and South East)
m:
07876 035770
Paul Crowther
Levy Auditor - South Wales and England (Excl London and South East)
m:
07980 688147