Under the Sea Fishing (Licence and Notices) (England) Regulations 2012 that came into force on 6 April 2012, variations will only be available on the MMO website and will no longer be sent out by letter to licence holders or nominees.
A variation will be considered as being received when it is published on the website and people will be required, as part of their licence conditions, to check the website on a weekly basis, with Fridays the suggested day, for notifications relating to the licence. MMO will also send notifications through an email and/or text message. All owners of vessels MMO administers are being written to during April informing them of the change and asking them to supply email addresses and/or mobile phone numbers to their local office.
MMO note that not providing an email address and/or mobile telephone number or providing an email address and/or a mobile telephone number that is not working is not a legal defence for not having received a notification of a licence variation.
Actual fishing vessel licences will continue to be sent out as hard copies when they are due to be reissued. For vessels 10 metres and under in length the next reissue will be 1 July 2012 and for vessels over 10 metres in length that will be 1 April 2013.
Variations are available from:
MMO will continue to send out paper notifications for the first three months of the new system from July to September as well as the new electronic notifications (email or text message). The first electronic-only variation will be issued for the 1 October 2012.
What you should do now
If you have not already provided the MMO with an email address and/or mobile phone number, you should urgently get in touch with the local MMO office and provide them with up to two email addresses or mobile phone numbers for each licence.
If you contact local MMO offices by email, you should provide vessel name, licence number and PLN.
From 1 July 2012 licence holders or nominees should check the MMO website every Friday for any notifications of variations to their fishing vessel licences.