Fisheries: Proposed removal of the quota finfish licence cap on English 10 metre and under vessels

Closed 30 Aug 2023

Opened 17 Jul 2023

Results expected 22 Nov 2023

Feedback expected 29 Dec 2023


Just under a quarter of English registered 10 metre and under (u10m) vessels are subject to a limit, or cap, of 350kg on the amount of finfish quota species they can fish per annum. The cap was introduced to help manage the utilisation of quota available to this section of the fleet who fish for quota species from the u10m quota pool. In recent years the level of quota in the pool has increased, partly as a result of Brexit, with the pool not being fully utilised.

Licence capping is cited as a barrier preventing u10m vessels fully utilising the pool with capped licence holders requesting that the cap be permanently removed.  By removing the cap this would give u10m vessels more of the certainty they need to invest in the new gear necessary to catch more or different stocks.

In response to requests from industry the cap has been lifted temporarily in the last 3 years without issue.  It was temporarily lifted again on 1 March 2023 for the remainder of the 2023 fishing year.

We are now seeking views on permanently lifting the licence cap from 1 January 2024.

This change applies to the 432 capped licences of English registered vessels. 

The Devolved Administrations do not have a similar capping arrangement in place for their respective u10m fleets.

Suspended shellfish permits do not fall under the scope of this consultation.

Why your views matter

The proposed change aims to simplify the English licensing system, and the lifting of the cap will directly impact on the 432 English u10m licence holders with a capped licence which currently limits them to 350kg of finfish quota species per annum.

The u10m licence holders with a capped licence will directly benefit from this change, as the current cap limits their ability to diversify into quota species from non-quota species. The English u10m pool has in recent years had an increase in the proportion of the total English quota allocated to it. However, the pool has not been fully utilised, with licence capping cited as one of the reasons that the pool has not be utilised.

We want to seek industry views on this proposal so that we can address any concerns identified by consultees.

What happens next

All of the responses will be read and analysed and a summary of responses to this consultation will be published on the Government website at: within 12 weeks of the consultation closing.  An annex to the consultation summary will list all organisations that responded but will not include personal names, addresses or other contact details.

The summary will also include the final government response and the policy decision for licence capping for the 2024 fishing year and beyond.


  • Fishing Focus individual recipients
  • Commercial Fisheries Organisations
  • Fisheries Producer Organisations
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Fishermen
  • SME businesses


  • Fish stocks
  • Sea angling
  • Marine fisheries