Brexit: Fishermen in over 12m fleet should register now

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Get ready for EU exit by registering your 12 metres or longer fishing vessel with the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Access for UK boats to fish in EU, Norwegian or Faroese waters after the UK leaves the EU will be a matter for negotiation. Should access to fishing be agreed, fishermen in the over 12m fleet will have to ensure their vessel has an IMO number to be licensed to fish outside UK waters when we leave the EU.

The UK Fisheries Administrations (UKFAs) is urging fishermen to apply to the IMO now to make certain they have registered in good time for the UK’s departure.

IMO registration is free. UK fishing vessels will also have to submit their number to the Single Issuing Authority (SIA), established by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of the UKFAs, to manage licensing for commercial fishing in non-UK waters. The deadline for IMO numbers to be submitted to the SIA is the end of September.

Fishermen can download the IMO registration application form here. Fishing vessel owners should complete the form and send it to to register with the IMO.

When fishermen have received their IMO number they should email it to the SIA at along with their Port Letter and Number (PLN) and Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS) number.

All skippers and vessel owners, whether they have an IMO number or not, are also asked to register their email address with the SIA, to speed up issuing of the new licences that will be required when the UK leaves the EU.