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Sea Fish Industry Authority

Formation 1981
Legal status Non-departmental public body
Purpose Sea fish industry of the UK
Region served
Fish restaurants and suppliers
Chief Executive
Marcus Coleman
Main organ
Seafish Board
Website Seafish

The Sea Fish Industry Authority (or Seafish) is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Established in 1981, and charged with working with the UK seafood industry to promote good quality, sustainable seafood. Seafish revised its mission in 2008. Its new mission is: "supporting the seafood industry for a sustainable, profitable future."



Seafish was established in the United Kingdom under the Fisheries Act 1981 through the amalgamation of the Herring Industry Board (founded in 1934)[1] and the White Fish Authority (founded in 1951).[2][3]

Seafish has its administrative base in the Scottish city of Edinburgh and has its research & development base in Grimsby, the UK's main base for the fishing industry and frozen food. The organisation in Grimsby moved into the new Humber Seafood Institute, run by the Grimsby Institute, on July 2008. It was formerly based on St Andrews Dock in Hull.

Seafish carries out research and projects aimed at raising standards, improving efficiency and ensuring the sustainable development of the industry. As well as supplying training and R&D, Seafish operates accreditation schemes for fish & chip shops, fishermen, wholesalers and processors. Seafish has an economics team which collects, interprets and disseminates data about various UK seafood sectors.


Seafish is sponsored by the fisheries departments of the four UK governments and is funded by a levy across all sectors of the fisheries and seafood industry. This levy is due on all first-hand purchases of sea fish, shellfish, and sea fish products including fish meal landed in the United Kingdom. This includes imports, which make up more than 75% of UK seafood consumption, as well as the domestic catch landed in the UK, the majority of which is exported.

Seafish servicesEdit


Seafish is a source of economic information for industry and policy makers on the fishing, supply and processing industries conducting surveys and analyses of the UK fleet and processing sectors, including trends in costs and earnings and economics impact multipliers. The Economics department also produces strategic analyses such as the 'Seafood Strategic Outlook' and fleet futures modelling.

Research and DevelopmentEdit

Seafish carried out research and projects to improve efficiency and seafood quality and obtain best value for money for the UK seafood industry. The 16-strong team is based around the UK.

A number of research and development projects are funded through the Seafish Industry Project Fund. During 2006 and 2007, over £2.5 million has been invested in 47 projects which have funded research and development partnership projects, grant assistance for innovative ideas and bursaries for students.

Seafood Information Network (SIN)Edit

Seafish has created SIN, an information portal for the global seafood industry. SIN is an internet-based data source for business, researchers and service providers.


Fish & Chip Shop of the Year competitionEdit

The Fish & Chip Shop Competition recognises and rewards fish and chip shops for producing the best fish and chips in the UK in an excellent environment. The competition is split into regional finals and is awarded in late January. It was first awarded in 1988. Around 250 million portions of fish and chips are sold per year in the UK.

Seafish Friers Quality AwardEdit

An approved inspector checks the fish restaurant for its image, selection of food raw materials, hygiene and cleaning, handling and temperature control, packaging, management systems, and the training schemes provided. If of a high enough calibre, this award is given, which lasts for one year, giving a reasonable indication of inherent quality. The Seafish website allows you to find recognised fish restaurants in local counties and by speciality fish being served.

Retailer of the YearEdit

Each year a main supermarket chain is given this award. Waitrose won it in 2009.

Seafish Responsible Fishing SchemeEdit

The Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme is a BSi Publicly Available Specification (PAS 72:2006) awarded to individual vessels for vessel operations and traceability in the sea fishing industry. It specifies requirements relating to fishing practices, vessel criteria, crew competence, environmental considerations and record maintenance. It is applicable to the supply chain from the fisherman to the point of first sale. In late 2009 around 500 vessels are involved in the scheme with 325 vessels fully certified covering about 70% of UK landings by weight. The scheme is independently audited by UKAS approved auditors.


  1. ^ "EIGHT MEN—THE HERRING INDUSTRY'S FATE IN THEIR HANDS". Hull Daily Mail. 8 March 1935. Retrieved 18 November 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ "White Fish Authority". Aberdeen Evening Express. 13 February 1951. Retrieved 18 November 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Hansard, 12 January 1981, column 824. The Minister was Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith. "Scottish Executive website"

External linksEdit