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 a licence from their local authority. In England, these are now called Animal Activities Licensing while in other parts of the UK they are pet shop licences.

Primary authority scheme for pet shops

All aquatic retailers which sell vertebrates (such as fish) need a pet shop licence from their local authority to trade. However, OATA has long argued that the current system for licensing pet shops does not provide consistent standards across the whole of the UK.

While we waited for improvements to the system, we decided to do something for ourselves. So in 2015 we set up a Primary Authority Partnership arrangement with the City of London Corporation for pet shop licensing (as well as health & safety issues and product safety).

We believe our scheme, which is free and exclusive to OATA members, shows that those who join take animal welfare seriously by signing up to high standards.

Guide to online selling

We are also 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