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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Fishing boat licensing

Find out what licence you need, where you can fish and what you can fish.

Do I need a licence?

Any vessel used for commercial fishing (ie where the catch is sold) must hold a valid licence issued by the Planning and Environment Department.

The licensing of fishing vessels is complex. It is recommended that you discuss the purchase of any licence or change to your vessel with the licensing officers to ensure all is in order.

Where can I get a licence?

A licence can be purchased from an individual licence holder or a licence broker. Guernsey and UK licences can be transferred to Jersey licences.  

Licences are often advertised for sale in the marine column of the Jersey Evening Post, "Fishing News',"and on the internet. 

What type of licence do I need?

You need to ensure that the licence suits the vessel and the type of fishing and species you are targeting.  

Generally, a capacity penalty must be paid when licences are transferred or aggregated. However, the penalty varies depending upon the nature of the transaction being undertaken and is subject to change.  

You should also note that neither tonnage nor engine power of any recipient vessel may exceed that of the donor vessel or vessels in the case of an aggregation. 

You are therefore strongly advised to discuss with a Fisheries Officer any plans you might have to place an entitlement on a vessel before you enter into any irrevocable commitment.    

How much do licences cost?

Price is usually calculated by the number of VCUs. The price per VCU can vary depending on the type of licence, for example whether:
  • it is for an over 10m or under 10m vessel
  • it is shellfish entitled
  • the licence is above the VCU ceiling that has been imposed on under 10m vessels

It may be worth comparing licence prices on the internet to get an idea of the value of the licence you require.

What penalties exist when licences are transferred or aggregated?

The following penalties exist when licences are transferred or aggregated: 

1. A capacity penalty of  5% will apply to all licence transactions, except:

       a) single licence transfers onto vessels under 8 metres overall length where a zero penalty will apply
       b) the disaggregation of licences for which a 10% penalty will apply

2. From 1 June 2007 capacity penalty on all licence transactions will be applied to the tonnage and kWs of the donor licence entitlement(s).

3. In the period to 1 June 2007 owners may choose to complete their licensing transactions either on the basis of the penalty being applied, as currently, to VCUs, or under the new arrangements with penalty being applied to both tonnage and kWs.

Caps on aggregation levels for vessels of 10 metres and under will continue but will apply now as caps on engine power  in the form:

  • vessels between 8 – 10 metres overall length    =          150 kWs (was 70VCUs)
  • vessels under 8 metres overall length                =          100 kWs (was 100VCUs)

Can a licence be split to licence 2 or more vessels (disaggregation)?

Disaggregation of licences is permitted.

Licences to be disaggregated can be used to license 2 or more smaller vessels, within the overall total available capacity.

Recipient vessels must be within the same vessel fleet band (either over 10 metres or 10 metres and under) as the donor entitlement.

The placing of the component elements on the recipient vessels can only be completed as a single licence transfer.They can not be used in aggregation with another licence entitlement.

Capacity penalty of 10% will apply to the tonnage and kWs of the component elements of the donor entitlement when placed on the recipient vessels.

Application to disaggregate a licence must be made on the appropriate form. All the incoming vessels to be licensed by the component elements will require to be nominated at the time of application and be fully licensed within 6 months of that date.

In line with normal licensing procedures, any residual capacity (tonnage and kWs), remaining on the donor entitlement after the component elements have been acquired and used, will be surrendered.

Where the donor licence may also have entitlement in relation to scallop dredging or shellfishing, these entitlements will transfer with the component elements to all the incoming vessels.

How do I go about transferring a Jersey licence?

Transferring a Jersey licence is a 2 stage process.  

Stage 1 is the establishment or transfer of a Jersey fishing boat licence entitlement.

Both parties must complete and return the application form titled ‘Application form for the Establishment or Transfer of a Jersey fishing boat licence entitlement’ available from the fisheries office at Howard Davis Farm, Trinity, or La Collette. 

The buyer completes section B and the seller completes section C. This form should be returned to this department along with the relevant items listed in section D. A letter of entitlement to apply for a licence will be issued to the new owner(s) and this will be required when the new owners apply for the licence in their name.  

Stage 2 is the licence application.
The new owner(s) should complete and return to the Jersey Fisheries Office the ‘Jersey Fishing Boat Licence Application Form’ in respect of the entitlement and enclose the relevant items listed in the notes at the end of the form.


How do I transfer a UK or Guernsey licence / entitlement into a Jersey Licence?

You will need to complete an AFL7 form (AFL7GU for Guernsey licences) and have the UK or Guernsey AFL7 form completed and registered in your name by the relevant UK or Guernsey fisheries office. Please note: the AFL7 form is the equivalent of a Jersey Entitlement Letter.  

Once this has been done complete the ‘Jersey Fishing Boat Licence Application Form’ and return it to Jersey Fisheries Office along with the original AFL7 form in your name with the other items listed at the end of the form.

What are VCUs?

Vessels Capacity Units (VCUs) are the way in which the fishing capacity of a vessel was measured until recently for licensing purposes.  

The number of VCUs of a vessels equates to the registered length overall in metres multiplied by the registered breadth of the vessel added to 0.45 of the engine power in kWs.

What happens to the excess tonnage, engine power (kWs) and VCUs if you can only find a licence that is bigger than you need?

The excess tonnage, engine power (kWs) and VCUs are lost forever if you can only find a licence that is bigger than you need. They can not be banked or saved for later use. 

What happens if I change the engine on my boat?

If you replace your engine with a larger engine you will need to aggregate your licence with another licence to increase the Engine Power (kWs) number of VCUs.  

Upratings / replacements of engine power within the 35% maximum increase in registered / licensed power is permitted. In such cases the penalty of 5% will be applied only against the additional kWs required. No penalty will be applied to tonnage.  

However caps on aggregation levels for vessels of 10 metres and under apply as caps on engine power:
  • vessels between 8 – 10 metres overall length    =          150 kWs
  • vessels under 8 metres overall length                =          100 kWs
Alternatively, you can have the new engine permanently de-rated to the power of the original engine, so long as the power of the de-rated engine is not less than 75% of the new engine's maximum continuous engine power.
For more information on de-rating engines see The Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.
If you replace your engine with a smaller engine then the licence (and vessel's 'certificate of registry') will have to be amended to reflect the new engine power. This will result in fewer kWs and VCUs on the licence with the surplus kWs and VCUs being lost for ever. 

Where can I fish?

Where can I fish with a Jersey licence?

A Jersey Fishing Boat licence is all that is required if you fish commercially inside the Jersey exclusive 3 mile limit.  

Both a Granville Bay Access Permit and Jersey Fishing Boat Licence are required if you intend to fish outside Jersey’s exclusive 3 mile limit including les Minquiers and les Ecrehous and in those parts of the neighbouring French territorial sea where Jersey vessels are allowed to fish.  

If a Granville Bay Access Permit is held you are entitled to fish commercially anywhere in Jersey Territorial Sea and certain zones in French waters outside of Jersey’s territorial sea.   

A Jersey licence does not currently allow you to fish in UK or Guernsey waters.  However, a Jersey licence holder can apply to the MFA (formerly DEFRA) fisheries office in Plymouth for an additional ('piggyback') UK licence which will allow that vessel to fish in UK waters, excluding British fishery limits around Guernsey.

When do I need a Granville Bay Access Permit?

If you intend to fish outside of Jersey’s exclusive 3 mile limit you will also need a Granville Bay Access Permit. These permits can not be bought or sold and remain the property of the States of Jersey.  

On transfer of a licence the Granville Bay Permit returns to the Fisheries Office for re-allocation.  

Possession of a fishing licence does not automatically guarantee the award of a Granville Bay Access Permit.

If you need a Granville Bay Access Permit you are advised to contact the Fisheries Office to check availability and make an application before you enter into any irrevocable commitment.   

I have a UK registered fishing boat with full UK licence - can I apply for a licence to fish in Jersey Waters?

Holders of full UK licences can apply for an additional (Piggy Back) Jersey Licence which will authorise fishing in the Jersey 3 mile limit, to fish outside the 3 mile limit a Granville Bay Permit is required.  

Possession of a fishing licence does not automatically guarantee the award of a Granville Bay Access Permit. Non Jersey based vessels need to meet specific track record criteria for issue of an Access Permit.  

Additional licences are non transferable and must be returned to the Jersey Fisheries Office on closure or transfer of the UK licence.

What can I fish for?

Do I need a special licence to fish for crabs and lobsters?

If you wish to fish for lobsters, crawfish or crabs without being subject to catch restrictions you must ensure that the donor licence was endorsed to permit unrestricted shellfishing. If not the recipient licence will be subject to catch restrictions of 15 lobsters or crawfish and 25 crabs per day.

Do I need a special licence to dredge for scallops?

You do not need a special licence to dredge for scallops in Jersey waters, however if the vessel and licence transfer to the UK scallop dredging will not be permitted unless the licence met the criteria for award of a scallop entitlement.  

Should you purchase a UK licence that is qualified for scallop dredging and transfer it to a Jersey licence then that licence would retain its scallop dredging entitlement on transfer back to the UK.  

If you are considering converting a vessel for scallop dredging whose licence is not qualified for scallop dredging, then that vessel could not be used for scallop dredging if transferred with the licence to the UK.

Will I be permitted to fish for quota species or subject to quota restrictions on pressure stocks?

This includes the following fish:

  • anglerfish
  • cod
  • haddock
  • hake
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • megrim
  • nephrops
  • plaice
  • pollock
  • saithe
  • sole
  • sprats
  • whiting
Vessels under 10 metres, with Class B Jersey licences, are not normally subject to quota restrictions unless a fishery is closed or specific quota imposed on the under 10 metre fleet.

Vessels over 10 metres, Class A Jersey licences, need a ‘restricted stock authorisation’ to fish for quota species (restricted stocks).

Special conditions apply to transfers where a restricted stock authorisation is attached to a Class A (over 10 metres) licence. The Restricted Stock Authorisation (RSA) does not automatically transfer with the licence. Owners of vessels exceeding 10 metres overall length should contact the Fisheries Office for advice regarding authority to fish for restricted stock. 

3 different schedules apply to Class A licences according to whether the vessel has a RSA, has no RSA or is a member of a producer organisation.

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