Good welfare standards are important when it comes to selling fish – and indeed any living organism sold by our trade (such as invertebrates, corals and amphibians).

Pet shops

All commercial businesses that sell vertebrate animals, such as fish, need to be inspected and licenced by their local authority. In England, Scotland and Wales these are now regulated by Animal Activities Licence regulations and require pet shops and other businesses which sell animals to meet mandatory standards.

Primary authority scheme for pet shops

OATA created a Primary Authority Partnership arrangement with the City of London Corporation in 2015 as our way of trying to raise standards and apply some consistency to pet shop licensing. The scheme, which is free and exclusive to OATA members, shows that those who join take animal welfare seriously by signing up to high standards. It also provides regulatory support to businesses within the scheme if they have issues while going through the licensing process.

Guide to online selling

We are aware of the growing trend for online sales of fish. While we firmly believe bricks and mortar shops are the best place for people to buy fish we cannot ignore changing consumer habits. So we created a guide for people selling fish online to ensure animal welfare needs are being met by those who sell in this way.

Oata position statements

There are a number of practices OATA does not support. This is due to negative welfare implications for the species involved or damage to native ecosystems caused by potential illegal release. We recommend our members do not support (through sale or other means) any of the following:
• Dyed or tattooed fish
• Fish used as decorations
• Fish used as prizes
• Fish used in beauty treatments
• Inappropriate use of fish in cultural practices
• Genetically modified fish
• Use of live fish as food