Quota Management

Fish quotas are the amounts of different species of fish that may be legally landed. From the 1st January 2021 UK fishing quotas will be set by a Determination by the Secretary of State. This Determination is made in consultation with the four UK Fisheries Administrations (i.e. Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales) and will be laid before Parliament.

This quota is then allocated to the four Fisheries Administrations (FAs) by the UK Government.

As a Coastal State the UK expects to negotiate a greater share of the fishing resources in its waters. This potential increase or “additional quota” may be allocated to the Fishing Administrations on a different basis to distribution in proportion to the number of Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) Units held by vessels in each Administration.  

The “baseline” quota (quota that the UK would have received under previous quota sharing arrangements) will still be allocated on the basis of FQA’s.

The method for allocating “additional quota” in 2021 remains under discussion, pending outcome of the coastal state negotiations. The allocation method used in 2021 may not be the same as that subsequently used in future years.

Each of the four Fisheries Administrations (FAs) will in turn allocate this quota to its fishermen.  In Northern Ireland these allocations are made by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). 

“Baseline” quota will continue to be allocated by DAERA on an FQA basis.  DAERA will consult in 2021 on the allocation of the “additional” quota it receives.

Across the UK most of the quota is allocated by the FAs to Fish Producer Organisations (POs).  POs are quota management and marketing organisations made up of member fishing vessels and they manage their members’ quotas on their behalf.  There are two POs administered directly by DAERA.  Quota allocations made to Northern Ireland POs are within their control subject to UK and Northern Ireland quota management rules.  FAs monitor quota uptake and ‘close’ fisheries when POs have taken their allocation.

Vessels which are not in the membership of a PO are known as Non-sector vessels.  Non-sector vessels (over 10 metre vessels and 10 metre and under vessels) are managed directly by DAERA.  These vessels fish against monthly catch limits set by DAERA.  These limits are enforced in fishing vessel licences.

Further guidance on fishing quotas is available via the link below:

Quota use statistics

Details of UK Quota use statistics (provided by Marine Management Organisation) for Producer Organisations (the Sector) and the Non-Sector including the 10 metre and under Pool can be accessed at the link below:

Overviews of the NI Sea Fishing Sector in from 2015 until 2019 can be accessed at the link below:

Quota management rules

All UK vessels, including those in POs, are subject to Quota Management Rules.

These rules are currently being revised to take into account changes arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. New quota management rules will be posted as soon as they are available.

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