JUST before Christmas I received quite a lengthy newsletter from the Environment Agency which was mainly about the new regulations for the transfer of fish.
The information that was provided was far too lengthy to include here so I will just have to summarise it.
A new system for regulating fish movement will be introduced on January 19 this year. What it means is that: 1, each stocked fishery will require a permanent onsite permit; 2, all fish suppliers must carry consignment notes when transporting fish; 3, fish suppliers will be issued with a supplier permit; 4, all fish suppliers must send to the Environment Agency advance notification when carrying out certain high risk fish movement.
If the Environment Agency have issued a fish movement consent before January 19 then, under the existing regulations, this will remain valid until its expiry date.
After January 19 there is no need to re-apply for a new permit if the existing fishery contains no non-native fish. Then all that is needed is either a telephone call or an email to fish movement on 01480 483968.
With regard to trout, as from January 1, 2015 all stocking must be with non-fertile (female trycloid) farm-reared brown trout on the progeny of local brood stock reared under a suitable regime.
This new policy aims to reduce the risk of wild brown trout inter-breeding with farmed fish and producing offspring that can have a lower ability to survive and reproduce successfully. That would otherwise be the case.
The new regulations will replace the current two systems of applying for consent for each fish-stocking operation (under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act) and holding a licence to keep non-native fish in the wild (under the Import of Live Fish Act).
Fish suppliers and fishery owners will still need to apply separately for an authorisation to use nets and electric fishing to crop fish from waters as at present.
The regulations will continue to protect fisheries and the wider environment from the risks of spreading damaging non-native fish species and fish diseases, and the consequences of inappropriate stocking.
However, they will also reduce the paperwork for fishery managers and fish suppliers by reducing the regulation of routine, low-risk fish transfers and allow the Environmental Agency to concentrate more on screening fish movements that pose a greater risk to fisheries and the environment.
What all of this means is that all fisheries in England must have a site permit before fish can be stocked into the site, or before non-native fish can be kept at the site. A site permit may cover a single still water, a group of neighbouring still waters or a section of a river.
Fish farm waters that form part of an aquaculture production business are not covered by these regulations and do not require a site permit.
Such a permit will be permanent and will only need to be applied for once.
The permit will only be issued to a responsible person, someone with a direct interest in the fishery, for example the fishery owner, the fishery manager or an angling club official.
That person will then be responsible for making sure that the fishery operates in compliance with the permit.