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Aquatic Pets, Imports and Disease Control

Aquatic Pets, Imports and Disease Control Photo 6Aquatic pets are important to many on the Island and responsible owners ensure that their animals do not impact the natural environment. It is an offence to release into the wild, certain plants and animals under Section 14 of the Wildlife Act 1990, any fish under Section 16 and 21 of the Fisheries Act 2012 and the Aquatic Animal Health Regulations 2009 as they may cause serious ecological, environmental, or socio-economic harm to the Isle of Man.

Any aquaculture production business or processing establishment must be authorised by the Department under the Aquatic Animal Health Regulations 2009. This includes all ‘put and take fisheries’ (defined as ponds or other installations where the population is maintained only for recreational fishing by restocking with aquaculture animals). Anyone who transports any aquaculture animal without complying with the requirements in Section 20 in respect to disease prevention, commits an offence.

There is potential for non-native fish to damage the Island’s native fish populations and aquatic habitats, as well as threatening the Island’s fish disease-free status. All of the non-native freshwater fish species known to be present on the Island are of recreational interest (coarse fish). Due to limited suitable habitat, they have never become prolific enough to pose a detectable problem for native fish stocks. Under the Coarse Fish Policy 2015, any additional existing population of coarse fish that is discovered, the Department may consider recognising the population and allowing it to remain in situ providing there is no compelling reason why this may be inappropriate. Ornamental koi carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus) are also present in land locked residential ponds.

It is important that when purchasing fish, amphibians, reptiles or any other aquatic pet or product for personal or commercial use, that it is through an accredited, inspected retailer possessing a valid ‘Certificate of Health’. The Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) carry out inspections in the UK and Isle of Man, providing Certificates of Health for aquatic retailers. Experts in aquatic disease diagnostics, fish health inspection, biosecurity and epidemiology, CEFAS can be contacted on their website.

The Isle of Man has a ‘Disease Free Status’ and is an approved zone for the purpose of trade in aquaculture animals and products through testing which was able to demonstrate freedom from the following major fish diseases;

  • Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN)
  • Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS)
  • Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus (ISA)
  • Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN)
  • Bacterial Kidney Disease (Renibacterium salmoninarum)
  • Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC)
  • Gyrodactylus salaris
  • Oncorhynchus masou virus (OMV)
  • Epizootic Haematopoietic Necrosis virus (EHN)
  • and Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome (EUS)

Animal keepers are strongly reminded that they are responsible for the health of animals in their care, ensuring their welfare, and for dealing with animal diseases or other animal related incidents.

Anglers and boat owners can also help to stop the spread of diseases. Further information:

Please contact either the Fisheries Team on +44 1624 685857, Ecosystems Policy Team on +44 1624 651577 or Animal Health Team on +44 1624 685844. For further information, please visit:

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