Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Sea fisheries regulators and licencing

Different government departments regulate the UK sea fishing industry:

Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA): Sea Fisheries background information (Northern Ireland)

Marine Scotland

What you must do

If you fish commercially you must register your vessel and obtain the appropriate licences. It is an offence to fish commercially from an unregistered, unlicensed vessel.

A useful summary of the UK fishing vessel licensing regime can be found on the Scottish Executive's Sea Fisheries website.

Scottish Government: Fishing vessel licences information

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland you must obtain a licence for your UK registered or British owned vessel from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Fisheries Division.

DARD will help you identify which licences you will require and whether you need any further permits and authorisations from other regulatory bodies before you can begin fishing. DARD can also advise you whether you need to consult with conservation organisations to fish in a designated conservation area, such as an Area of Special Scientific Interest.

DARD's Sea Fisheries Inspectorate is responsible for enforcing UK and European legislation regarding sea fisheries.

DAERA: Sea fisheries information


In Scotland you should contact SEERAD for vessel licences and advice on other authorisations that you might require from other regulatory bodies. SEERAD can also advise you whether you need to consult with conservation organisations to fish in a designated conservation area. Rights for salmon fishing in the sea are private, heritable titles, and fishing without legal right or written permission is an offence.

Marine Scotland: sea fisheries mangement information

Marine Scotland is responsible for enforcing fisheries legislation and regulations in the seas around Scotland and in Scottish ports.

Scottish Government: Marine Scotland

Additional resources


Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms