Aquatic retailers are being urged to check the credentials of courier companies if they have recently begun to use them to transport live fish.
With many more people shopping online due to the coronavirus pandemic, customers are not always visiting shops to make purchases and increasingly retailers are looking at options for transportation.
However the Welfare of Animals in Transportation (WATO) regulation applies across the UK, covering the transit of all livestock including aquatic species.
This means that any courier service that takes fish from the shop to the customer needs to be authorised to carry live animals. They must comply with the rules in the WATO regulation, which include having a contingency plan for what happens if the customer is not in to receive the animals and cover certain issues around ventilation etc in the van – although fish are exempt from this because of the way they are packed for transport.
Royal Mail and Parcelforce are not authorised to carry live animals including fish. See Royal Mail’s website for prohibited items.
Any courier service being used for the transport of livestock needs to have a ‘Type 2’ authorisation, the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) is warning its members. It says achieving authorisation is relatively simple and it can offer advice if required.
Any retailer delivering its own livestock door-to-door can do so without authorisation provided the journey is less than 65km and takes no more than eight hours of journey time delivering to all customers.
Customers must also confirm that they will be present to receive the delivery, as livestock parcels cannot be left somewhere.