Defra introduced new regulations for the Keeping and Introduction of live fish in fisheries in England on the 19th January. These new regulations require fishery owners or managers to hold a permanent Site Permit, which sets out what species they can introduce and what non-native fish they can keep.
The Permits are issued and regulated by the Environment Agency. The new permits replace the previous "Section 30" consents that fish suppliers and fishery owners needed each time they moved fish.
Getting a Site Permit is very simple. Fishery owners or managers can apply for a permit by calling the Environment Agency on 01480 483 968.
However, the demand for these new permits has been very high. Far more applications for the new Site Permits have been received then under the old regulations. As a result, the Environment Agency has put extra staff in place and is working with fisheries to make sure those who need to stock their waters sooner are processed first. This may mean there is a delay in processing some permit applications.
To help the Environment Agency, anyone wishing to apply for a Site Permit can:
•Contact them 3 weeks before the fish are due to be stocked - 6 weeks if your water has a conservation designation (such as a SSSI);
•Think about what fish you want to stock - not just in the short term, but in the future too;
•For stillwaters, make sure your fishery is registered with the Fish Health Inspectorate at Cefas - you cannot be issued a Site Permit until the fishery is registered. This does not apply to rivers or canals;
•If, when you contact the Environment Agency on 01480 483 968, you get an answer-phone, please leave your details, including when you want to stock. They will get back to you.
This new process will bring many benefits in the long term. It will reduce the paperwork and costs to fisheries and fish suppliers and will allow the Environment Agency to focus more of its efforts on high risk and illegal activities - protecting our fisheries and the quality of angling in England.