Review of brown trout policy

We are bringing in new rules about the stocking of brown trout in England and Wales.

Around one million brown trout are stocked into English and Welsh rivers every year. Although they support valuable fisheries, stocked fish can pose a risk to our wild brown trout. Here you can check developments in our policies that affect brown trout.

News about brown trout stocking

Changes we are making to our policy on stocking brown trout in England and Wales

Last year, we reviewed the evidence on the impact of stocking domesticated fertile brown trout on wild trout stocks and on the potential alternative use of sterile fish. This review was promised in our National Trout & Grayling Fisheries Strategy.

Following  extensive consultation, we have decided to stop giving consent to stock rivers and most lakes with fertile (diploid) farm strain brown trout in England and Wales from 2015.

From this date we will only permit fisheries to stock infertile (female triploid) brown trout or the progeny of local brood-stock reared under a suitable regime. This is because inter-breeding between farmed and wild brown trout is likely to lower the ability of the offspring to survive in the wild, and could have serious implications for the long term future of wild brown trout (and sea trout). 

The only exception will be for stocking applications into totally enclosed waters with no significant natural brown trout  production. Totally enclosed waters are still waters with no outlet or inlet, or where there are adequate measures to stop the escape of brown trout. Consents for diploid fish will still be granted for these waters.

We are also setting targets to encourage a progressive switch to using infertile triploid trout from now until 2015. We want to see:

  • 30 per cent less than present of farm strain fertile trout stocked into English and Welsh rivers by 2010;
  • 50 per cent less by 2013; and
  • full compliance by 2015

This decision has been made following work with leading authorities on trout fisheries management, analysis of scientific research, and an extensive consultation process.

Fisheries owners can find a farm where they can obtain triploid brown trout to stock their fisheries from our list of trout farms that supply these fish.

Reports that have assisted us with this review can be found below: