We recognise that virtually every species we trade in is not native to the UK so our industry has a responsibility to educate our customers about the need not to release fish or plants into the wild. So all ornamental fish and aquatic plants should always remain within aquariums or ponds.

Coldwater fish have the potential to become invasive. We are naturally concerned about that risk but also for the welfare of the fish. Although it may appear to be a kind gesture, the release of any fish into the wild is cruel, since predation, starvation, cold or disease will most likely kill them. It is also against the law.

We have joined forces with REPTA to produce a Code of Practice for pet owners and traders to help encourage the responsible ownership of non-native pets. Find the Code of Practice below and we would encourage you to share it with your customers.

We are also keen supporters of the Be Plant Wise campaign. This initiative is aimed at getting people to think responsibly about disposing of invasive plants, particularly aquatic plants. Please support the campaign by displaying information and talking to customers when you sell aquatic plants.

Aquatic plants that cannot be sold in the UK:

Those plants that can be sold until 3 August 2017 can only be sold provided you can demonstrate you ordered the stock before 3 August 2016. After 3 August 2017 any of these plants coming into the country will be seized and destroyed. Please ensure your suppliers are aware of the controls and do not put banned substitutes in as alternatives.

If businesses wish to sell the last four plants they need to put a contract in place with their suppliers BEFORE 1 August 2017. See Defra’s advice here.

Animals/invertebrates that cannot be sold in the UK:

  • Apple snails (Pomacea genus)
  • Pond sliders (Trachemys scripta)
  • Only one species of crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) can be sold in England and Wales. No live crayfish may be sold in Scotland.
  • Channa argus cannot be traded in England and Wales. The whole Channa genus is banned in Scotland (unless you have a licence).

Tropical freshwater fish species that can be sold in the UK are governed by the Import of Live Fish Act. This outlines those fish (by scientific name) that can be sold in the UK. You can check the list on the Government website (see the button below which will take you to the Government site). If a fish does not appear on that list then it cannot be sold in England and Wales.

Fish species that cannot be sold in Scotland are governed by Wildlife and Countryside Act. See the button below for the schedule of animals covered by this legislation.