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New registration requirement for fishing boat operators

By Caroline McMorran

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Operators of fishing vessels working out of Caithness ports are being reminded of a new registration requirement which is being imposed as a result of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The new rules mean that if a boat’s catch is exported to any EU member state then the vessel has to be registered as a food business with the local authority.

The only exception is if the catch is intended either solely for the operator’s consumption or it does not exceed 25 kilograms and is for direct sale from the quayside.

Fishing boat operators are being asked to register before the end of the British European Union Exit (Brexit) transition period, which is set for December 31.

An inspection of vessels will be carried out after registration.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “Only around 17 per cent of a potential 400 vessels have registered so far.

“If your fishing vessel's home port is located within the Highland Council area – for example Scrabster or Wick – then you must register with us.

“We do not wish any of our fishermen to be at a commercial disadvantage when attempting to sell their catch.

“So, with only 15 weeks of the Brexit transition period left to go, the need for these registrations and inspections to be carried out is a priority.”

She added that it was the responsibility of the fishing vessel operator or their representative to register with the authority.

Failure to do so could result in operators beingunable to export their catch to EU member states at the end of the transition period.

The online registration form is limited to one fishing vessel per submission. Should multiple vessels need to be registered then a new online application is required per fishing vessel.

To access the registration form, visit www.highland.gov.uk

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