Fishing vessel hygiene

Fishing vessel food business registration

Commercial fishing vessels are classed as food businesses and need to register with their Home Port.

Products that are exported to most countries require Export Health Certificates proving fish has come from registered premises who apply good food safety controls and traceability. A food hygiene inspection of a vessel will cover how the catch is handled and stored hygienically on board.

Finding your home port and registering

If you don’t know where your home port is you can find this on the UK list of vessels

Fishing vessel food registration application form

If you have any queries please email

Freezer and factory vessels

Vessels that freeze fish on board and/or process fish and package these on board are considered to be 'approved premises'. A visit is required by the local authority before going to sea. The vessels are issued with a unique identification marking which must be placed on all packaging. Once you have registered we will contact you and let you know if approval is required. See 'Finding your home port and registering' above.

Request registration documents also if you want to gather shellfish

Vessels landing scallops

Shellfish Registration Documents are required for any wild harvested scallops. These record where the scallop shave been harvested from and who they have been dispatched to. They are used to ensure that traceability is maintained from harvesting to final sale. This allows for recall of product if a food safety incident occurs, e.g. algal toxins discovered in harvesting waters, food poisoning outbreak

Further information on how to obtain registration documents and how to use them

Arranging your inspection

We will call or email you using the information you provide and arrange a time when you are in port to carry out the visit. The vessel owner or skipper will need to be present. If owners wish to present their vessels as a group to be inspected on the same day, this can be arranged.

On satisfactory completion of the inspection, a report will be sent to the owner or other representative in charge. If any defects are found a follow-up visit may be required and this will be discussed with you.

How often a business is routinely inspected depends on the type of food it handles and its previous record.


To help you to be ready for your inspection visit use this fishing vessel checklist to prepare.

File Fishing vessel checklist

Public fishing vessel register

Register of fishing vessels that have a home port at Plymouth and are registered as food businesses with us.

PDF icon Fishing Vessel Register

This public register was last updated on 19 February 2021