Fish and licensing

Scottish Natural Heritage can issue licences to permit certain activities that would otherwise constitute an offence against protected fish species.

Some species of fish in Scotland are protected by law because they’re rare or vulnerable to certain activities. Learn about the protected fish species in Scottish waters.

Surveys and research

You should apply to us for a licence if your work could otherwise result in an offence in relation to protected fish species.

To apply for a licence for survey, conservation, scientific, research or educational purposes, email

You should include:

If this is your first licence application for this activity, we’ll need two references from you. Your referees should be familiar with your work in this area and able to vouch for your competence.

Licensing for other purposes

Contact us if you wish to apply for a licence for any other purpose in relation to protected fish species, or if you need further advice.

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.


If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team
Telephone: 01463 725 364

Find out more

Data Protection notice

Guidance note for field surveys and monitoring where field workers are supported by SNH or have licences from SNH

Accompanying notes for survey and monitoring licences