Fish health checks
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
- Part of:
- Aquatic animal health and movements guides and Fisheries and rod licensing
- First published:
- 16 May 2014
- Last updated:
- 23 September 2016, see all updates
- Applies to:
How to apply for a fish health check using a consultant, sample requirements and what to do if your fish fail.
If you want to stock fish in rivers, canals and lakes connected to open waters you need a site permit. To get this your fish must first pass a health check.
This is to protect fish in your fishery and in the wild from harmful diseases and parasites.
Get a fish health check
You can only get a fish health check by using an approved fish health consultant.
Fish health checks are valid for:
- 6 months for coarse fish
- 12 months for farmed trout and salmon
You may need a fish health check if there are special ecological concerns, such as stocking fish into a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
You don’t usually need a health check to stock fish in enclosed waters that fish can’t escape from, but getting one will help protect your fishery.
How to choose fish for a health check
Fish you choose for a health check must be representative of the fish you plan to stock. There are rules about the number, size and species of fish that need to be examined (known as sample rules).
Fish size rules for health checks (PDF, 91.5KB, 3 pages)
You must submit a minimum of:
- 30 fish in total
- 10 fish of each species
- 5 fish from each size category
You can deliver your fish to the consultant yourself or use a courier (who must be registered to transport fish). Some consultants may do the check at your fishery.
Health check results
When you have the results of the health check, send the health report to the fish movements team as part of your movement notification and permit conditions.
The Environment Agency fish movements team must receive your health checks before the introduction of fish takes place.
Your fish health consultant can explain what the results mean.
If your fish fail the health check
If your fish have one of the following parasites or diseases they’ll fail the health check:
- category 2 parasites
- novel parasites
- ‘clinical infection’ with native parasites or disease (parasites in high enough numbers to cause harm or signs of bacterial or fungal infection)
This doesn’t mean you have to take immediate action or stop operating a fishery. You’ll be able to run your fishery as normal but may not be allowed to move your fish.
Category 2 parasites
If your fish have category 2 parasites, you won’t get permission to move them to open waters. These are non-native to fish in England and can cause serious disease.
Category 2 parasites are :
- Ergasilus sieboldi (affects many salmonid and coarse fish species)
- Ergasilus briani (affects many salmonid and coarse fish species)
- Ergasilus gibbus (affects eels)
- Pomphorhynchus laevis (affects salmonids and riverine coarse fish species)
- Anguillicoloides crassus (affects eels)
- Monobothrium wagneri (affects tench)
- Bothriocephalus acheilognathi (affects mostly common carp and carp variants)
Novel parasites and diseases
If your fish have a novel parasite, you won’t usually get permission to move them to any water.
Novel parasites and diseases are:
- Lernea cyprinacea (affects cyprinids)
- Pellucidhaptor pricei (affects common bream)
- Philometroides sanguineus (affects crucian carp and goldfish)
- Tracheliastes polycolpus and Tracheliastes maculates (affects a range of coarse fish species and salmonids)
- carp edema virus (CEV)
- Herpesvirus anguillae (HVA) (affects eels)
For information on fish health checks contact:
Environment Agency fish movements team
Telephone: 0208 474 5243
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (answer phone outside these hours)
For information on freshwater fish health contact:
Environment Agency fish health team
Telephone: 01480 483 017
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Published: 16 May 2014
Updated: 23 September 2016
- Environment Agency fish movements team (authorisations) telephone number changed to 0208 474 5243.
- Updated because of new fish movement legislation
- First published.