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New non native controls – ILFA 2014 Order

On 17 February 2014 the Prohibition of Keeping and Release of Live Fish (Specified Species) (England) Order 2014 came into force.  It replaces the earlier 1998 and 2003 Orders with regard to the keeping of non native freshwater fish in England. The controls have been put in place to provide greater protection for our native flora and fauna from potentially invasive species.

The extended list of freshwater fish species covered by the 2014 Order primarily affects species kept for ornamental or research purposes. However Defra have exempted a number of species and issued general licences to enable these industries to operate with a wide range of freshwater fish species, where those fish are kept under appropriate conditions.

A general licence is permission from Defra for a particular scenario to take place without the need for individuals or companies to hold a licence.  An individual licence is not required for:

  • All fish species which are native to England and Wales – exempted from the Order.
  • Common carp and its variants (Cyprinus carpio), goldfish and its variants (Carassius auratus), Ide or Orfe (Leuciscus idus) and rainbow trout, other than Anadromous Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss other than Anadromous Steelhead) – exempted from the Order
  • keeping of listed species* in indoor aquaria and kept for ornamental (including trade, hobbyists, zoos and public aquaria), scientific research or conservation purposes – general licence
  • keeping of sturgeon (of the genera Acipenser and Huso) and/or grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in ornamental wholesale or retail premises or indoor aquaria or garden ponds – general licence. A garden pond is defined as a discrete, isolated body of water, not exceeding one acre in size, on private residential premises, established and used specifically for the ornamental display of fish.  Such ponds must pose no risk of escape of fish into the wild, and must not be used for fishing or any commercial purposes related to fish rearing or dealing.
  • keeping of all marine species included in the taxonomic orders listed in Part I of the 2014 Order for ornamental purposes – general licence

* a list of the species permitted under general licence is available in two Excel formats:

The freshwater species exempted or licensed (as described above) represent the full extent of species that Defra currently intend to make available to the ornamental fish industry.  Species not covered by an exemption or general licence must not be imported unless the destination site is appropriately licensed.

Applicants should apply on an ILFA1 application and be prepared to provide a full risk assessment for the species, where requested.

Page published: February 13, 2014