Registration of seafood buyers and sellers in the UK — Seafish

Registration of seafood buyers and sellers in the UK

Buyers and sellers of first sale UK landed fish need registered with fisheries authorities.

This is required to combat landings of illegally caught fish from European waters. As this is a fisheries control measure, it does not apply to aquaculture.

This applies to: 

  • Buyers and sellers of first sale fish and shellfish landed in the UK
  • Designated fish markets were fish is first sold
  • Fish landed from other Member State fishing vessels
  • Fish landed by a UK vessel in another Member State that is transported back to the UK for first sale
Registered buyers and sellers must complete and provide sales notes:

These notes must give 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. Anyone including but not limited to fishmongers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and foreign buyers making local purchases direct from fishermen must register. 

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. The fisheries authority which receives it will pass this on to the relevant departments.

Further guidance for England

The Marine Management Organisation provide guidance on:

  • Submission of sales notes
  • Application forms for registered status as a buyer or seller of first-sale fish in the UK
  • Application forms for the designation of premises as an auction site together with access to the online electronic sales note system
  • Marine Management Organisation guidance here
Further guidance for Scotland and Wales