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Angling PAP for Great Britain

Pre-consultation version, drafted September 2020.  Download a PDF version of this plan. This Pathway Action Plan was drafted by a working group, the membership of which is listed at Annex 1

Background to action planning

Reducing the risk posed by pathways of introduction and spread is a key way of tackling invasive non-native species (INNS). The GB INNS Strategy calls for the development of Pathway Action Plans (PAPs) and they are a requirement under the EU IAS Regulation. They can also form an element of the programme of measures under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

This Pathway Action Plan is one of a series of plans intended to address pathways of introduction or spread of non-native species in Great Britain. The plan outlines the general policy and approaches as well as deliverables by government and other actors in relation to this issue.


This plan is aimed at the angling pathway, covering marine, brackish and freshwater environments, coarse and game fishing, including both wild and stocked fisheries but excludes aquaculture. The geographical scope of the PAP is GB but will also make reference where relevant to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and further afield (particularly Continental Europe). There is a corresponding Scottish PAP to sit alongside the GB PAP to help guide implementation in Scotland.

This PAP has a significant number of actions in common with the forthcoming Recreational Boating PAP and stakeholders should be aware of this other document too.

This plan was prepared by a working group (the GB Angling PAP Working Group) reporting to the GB Non-native Species Programme Board (see Annex 1 for membership).


There are currently around 200 non-native aquatic species established in GB and aquatic species are particularly likely to be invasive. In recent decades the rate of arrival has accelerated – e.g. in the brackish and freshwater environments one new Ponto-Caspian species invades Britain every 2-3 years compared to one every 100 years before 1992. These include the killer and demon shrimps and quagga mussel. There are also many further aquatic species poised to invade the UK, a range of fish diseases that pose a threat to fish in the UK and several invasive fish like topmouth gudgeon that pose a threat to angling.

Good biosecurity is key and Government has, since 2011, been developing the Check Clean Dry (CCD) public awareness campaign aimed at improving biosecurity amongst water users. This has included a border campaign which started in 2016 and which has grown annually since. In 2018 CCD was expanded to Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

There is a European Code of Practice for Angling that has been developed under the Bern Convention and this area is also covered by a number of relevant Acts in domestic legislation – most importantly the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) which provides a general prohibition on the release of most non-native species of animal and many plants in England and Wales, and all non-native species in Scotland.
Other relevant Acts include:
  • The Keeping and Introduction of Fish (England and River Esk Catchment Area) Regulations 2015
  • The Keeping and Introduction of Fish (Wales) Regulations 2014
  • Import of Live Fish (England and Wales) Act 1980
  • The Prohibition of Keeping or Release of Live Fish (Specified Species) (England) Order 2014
  • The Prohibition of Keeping or Release of Live Fish (Specified Species) (Wales) Order 2015
  • The Prohibition of Keeping of Live Fish (Crayfish) Order 1996.
  • The Import of Live Fish (Scotland) Act 1978(1)
  • The Prohibition of Keeping of Live Fish (Crayfish) (Scotland) Order 1996
  • The Prohibition of Keeping or Release of Live Fish (Specified Species) (Scotland) Order 2003
  • The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 (as amended)
  • The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975
  • The Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009
  • Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009
  • The Marine Strategy Regulations 2010.
However, legislation alone is not sufficient to manage and lower the risk associated with introducing or spreading of INNS. It requires cooperation and collaboration from all concerned, each sector is part of the solution and plays an important role in INNS management and implementing best biosecurity practice. This plan sets out additional actions to help to minimise the risk of introduction and movement of non-native species caused by anglers.

The Angling PAP working group has adapted the Bern Convention code of conduct to tailor it to the needs of GB (Annex 4) and developed agreed guidance for fisheries owners (Annex 5). Its primary output, however, has been to agree a series of measures to raise awareness among key actors in the angling sector and strengthen existing biosecurity mechanisms. These actions are outlined below and they form the main body of the action plan.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the PAP is to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of invasive non-native species by anglers based on international good practice.

Specific objectives are to:
  • Facilitate the uptake of good biosecurity practice by the angling community.
  • Raise awareness of the non-native species issue amongst anglers.
  • Raise awareness of non-native species amongst fisheries managers, riparian owners and other relevant operators/users.
  • Raise awareness of non-native species amongst traders and the media.
  • Encourage all stakeholders to report novel NNS to the EA, NE, NRW and SEPA for freshwater environments and MMO, IFCAs, NRW, WG or Marine Scotland for marine and brackish environments.
  • Promote partnership working.


Key general actions are outlined below while a more detailed set of actions are to be found in Annex 3.

Action 1
NNSS will oversee the running of a CCD border biosecurity campaign concentrating on the high risk routes of entry to GB – mainly ferries from England to the near Continent.

Action 2
Scottish Government will run a CCD campaign at relevant airports used by anglers in Scotland.

Action 3
Welsh Government will run a CCD campaign at Welsh ports connecting to the Irish Republic.

Action 4
NNSS (and BIC Secretariat) will establish and run a BIC Aquatic Biosecurity group to agree co-ordinated measures, including action at ports, airports and on ferries and planes.

Action 5
The Environment Agency will continue to display the CCD logo on all their angling licenses.

Action 6
NNSS will lead on liaison with the European Commission and relevant EU Member States to agree a programme of action related to aquatic biosecurity (see Annex 6 for priority species whose arrival we aim to prevent). This will target:
  • Continental anglers coming to GB
  • GB/UK anglers returning from the continent.
Action 7
The Angling Trust and Angling Cymru (liaising with other competition bodies as appropriate) will annually compile a prioritised list of competitions (based on risk - related to both introduction and spread of INNS) to be targeted for heightened awareness-raising such as biosecurity demonstrations etc. This will be agreed by the working group.

Action 7A
Relevant organisers/owners will implement the heightened awareness-raising activities at the prioritised sites/events.

Action 8
Water Companies, CRT, Scottish Canals, EA, NE, SNH, The Crown Estate and NRW will put a reference to carrying out biosecurity into all lease and management agreements related to angling (as they come up for renewal).

Action 9
The Angling Trust will encourage all angling clubs to add the biosecurity clause (Annex 7) to their constitutions.

Action 10
The working group will compile and maintain a list of sites/waterways which contain critical INNS (at GB and National levels) that are a priority to contain/slow the spread (see Annex 8 for GB critical species list) and where angling occurs.

Action 10A
Owners and managers of these sites and where angling occurs will install facilities and signage to promote very high biosecurity. This may include:
  • Suitable hard standing
  • Cold water wash down facilities
  • Large prominent signage
  • Hot water wash down facilities where possible
  • In addition, enacting biosecurity by-laws where possible.
Action 10B
Organisers of angling events will implement heightened awareness-raising activities and ensure strict biosecurity at the prioritised sites.

Action 11
The Angling Trust will promote the EU Code of Conduct and encourage other EU member states angling organisations to adopt CCD via the European Anglers Alliance.

Action 12
Fish Health Inspectorates will circulate the fisheries biosecurity guidance (Annex 5) to fisheries as appropriate.

Action 13
EA, NE, NRW, WG, MMO, IFCAs and SEPA will provide a reporting route for novel NNS. On confirmation of a species these agencies will take action as appropriate.

Action 14
Cefas will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the risk posed by moving bait associated with marine angling for (i) introducing INNS to GB and (ii) moving INNS to new areas in GB and report back to the working group.

Monitoring and updating

The working group will be re-convened at least annually to assess progress with achieving the actions and also to agree the prioritised list of competitions (Action 7) and to maintain the list of sites with critical INNS (Action 10).

For assessing overall progress with delivery of the PAP the group will consider all relevant information including the following:
  • Number of organisations/clubs/sites signed up to promote CCD.
  • Baseline uptake of biosecurity among anglers – then future measurement of improvements to uptake. Particularly important for anglers travelling abroad and for foreign anglers visiting GB from abroad.
  • Number of angling events organised by each relevant key actor which have provided cleaning facilities each year to demonstrate increasing trend.
  • Number of water assets/access points that provide cleaning facilities for anglers permanently or temporarily e.g. during peak season (and within that how many promote/police use of them).

Annex 1: Working Group members

The following organisations were represented on the Angling PAP working group:
  • Angling Trust (Chair)
  • NNSS (Secretary)
  • Anglian Water
  • Canal & River Trust
  • Cefas
  • Defra
  • Environment Agency
  • Fisheries Management Scotland
  • Natural England
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • South West Water
  • Welsh Government
Corresponding members:
  • DAERA – Northern Ireland

Annex 2: Key Actors related to the PAP

  • Angling clubs
  • Angling coaches
  • Angling tour organisers
  • Angling Trade Association
  • Angling Trust and other Angling Organisations
  • Canal & River Trust/Glandwr Cymru and Scottish Canals
  • Cefas
  • Defra, Welsh Government, Scottish Government and NNSS
  • Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Fish Health Inspectorates
  • Fisheries Colleges and institutes of higher education
  • Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities
  • Fisheries Management Scotland
  • Institute of Fisheries Management
  • Local Action Groups
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • Match Angling Organisers
  • Natural England
  • Port and Harbour Authorities
  • Riparian owners
  • Rivers Trusts
  • River Tweed Commission and Scottish Salmon Boards/Trusts
  • Recreational fisheries owners and managers (UK, France etc.)
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Water Companies
  • Other aquatic asset owners that allow angling (Local Authorities, National Trust, National Trust for Scotland, Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, WWT, Forestry Commission, The Crown Estate)
  • Wild fish conservation organisations

Annex 3: Table of actions for key actors

Table of actions (PDF) for the key actors listed in Annex 2. 

If you require the table of actions in a different format, please contact us and tell us:
  • your name and email address
  • the format you need, for example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print, accessible PDF

Annex 4: GB Code of Conduct on Invasive Non-native Species for Recreational Angling


Ideas and texts for this code were drawn from the Council of Europe European Code of Conduct on Recreational Angling and Invasive Alien Species and tailored to fit the requirements of Great Britain.

This document is primarily aimed at recreational fisheries.

Invasive non-native species (INNS) are plants, animals and diseases that are introduced by man and which have a negative impact. They are one of our most important environmental threats and they can also cause substantial economic damage and impacts on human health. The total cost to the British economy is estimated at £1.7 billion per annum, with at least £26.5 million per annum spent in Great Britain (GB) managing freshwater INNS alone (Oreska and Aldridge, 2010; Williams et al., 2010).

Adopting preventative measures to avoid unintentional introduction and spread of INNS is widely accepted as the most effective approach to tackle their threat. The EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation and GB INNS Strategy both aim to target pathways of INNS introductions, prioritizing them and putting measures in place to minimize INNS introduction and establishment. In the past, little thought was given to introduction of INNS by recreational fishing. However, with over three million anglers in GB, angling represents a potentially significant pathway for the movement of INNS between different waterways. It is anticipated that through education and awareness raising we will reduce the risk of introduction of INNS by recreational angling as well as ensuring that angling forms part of the solution, acting as the ‘eyes and ears’, spotting and reporting the spread of INNS as well as participating in their control and eradication.

This code of conduct aims to encourage effective practices to prevent future movement of INNS by angling activity. Angling organisations and institutions hosting angling activity on their waters also have an important role to educate anglers on the impacts of INNS and the importance of biosecurity. The recommendations outlined here aim to increase the engagement of angling organisations in their role in raising awareness of INNS. Many of these recommendations support existing legislation such as the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, and codes, such as the European Fisheries Advisory Commissions (EIFAC) Code of Practice for Recreational Fisheries (2007) and the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats European Charter for Recreational Fishing and Biodiversity (2010).

This code consists of three key measures:

1) Adopting effective preventative measures to avoid unintentional introduction and spread of INNS (including diseases)

2) Engaging in initiatives to increase anglers’ awareness of the threat of INNS and the need for biosecurity

3) Adopting appropriate biosecurity practices for all fisheries, habitat and water body management.

Detailed suggestions for the implementation of the key measures are outlined below.

1) Adopting effective preventative measures to avoid unintentional introduction and spread of INNS (including diseases)
  • All owners/managers should assess their fisheries for the risk of introduction and further spread of INNS and diseases (and identify measures to minimize the risks where these are significant) (see Annex 5 of the PAP document for biosecurity guidance and draft biosecurity plan).
  • Information on INNS should be provided to members of staff or Angling Club Committee Members to ensure they understand the risks of INNS, are adequately trained to mitigate these risks, and know what to do and who to report to if they come across INNS in a water body.
  • Stocking and re-stocking should only be in accordance with relevant regulation and guidance e.g. guidance for England (external link) and measures should be taken to prevent unintentional introduction of INNS along with consignments of fish.
  • Introduction of any non-native species to create fisheries should be avoided. Where proposed, they must comply with the EIFAC Code of Practice on Recreational Fisheries (see Annex 1 for link) and relevant local or national regulations.
  • Where practical, access and egress for anglers should be limited, preferably to a single spot. This is particularly important where a new INNS has been identified and it is recommended that anglers should log in and out of site confirming they have checked and cleaned their clothing and equipment to allow containment.
  • If possible angling equipment such as landing and keep-nets, drogues, boats and boat equipment should be provided at the site and used in preference to personal equipment brought in from off site, especially useful if INNS are identified at a fishery.
  • Un-hooking mats and bass bags should be thoroughly cleaned after use.
  • Where possible, biosecurity stations/ cleaning facilities should be provided at sites. These should not be connected to the drainage system and should be inspected regularly.
  • Ideally all cleaning and inspection operations should be supervised by a volunteer or member of staff.
  • Early warning and rapid responses to new INNS should be supported. New INNS should be immediately reported to the relevant authority: EA Fisheries Officers in England, NRW in Wales and SEPA in Scotland.
  • Be fully aware of and comply with all relevant laws and regulations relating to INNS and promote the Check Clean Dry message.
2) Engaging in initiatives to raise anglers’ awareness of the threat of INNS and the need for biosecurity.
  • Support awareness raising activities to inform anglers on the issue of INNS, and encourage good biosecurity (e.g. Check Clean Dry campaign, Invasive Species Week).
  • Provide adequate signage or guidance to all recreational anglers to make them aware of the risk of INNS and provide advice on how to prevent their spread.
  • Engage recreational anglers in programmes to remove INNS to increase educational and practical awareness as well as using them as a resource.
  • Appoint a biosecurity manager/ champion at the fishery who will have the responsibility of ensuring biosecurity measures are implemented.
3) Adopting appropriate biosecurity practices for all fisheries, habitat and water body management.

Bank side and in-water management undertaken by recreational fisheries could pose a risk of unintentionally spreading or introducing INNS. These activities include dredging or re-profiling banks, managing vegetation, installing or repairing dams, pontoons or jetties, installing and maintaining fishing platforms. Various organisations, angling clubs and individuals undertake valuable conservation activities to restore natural features such as meanders and bank-side vegetation, re-introduce lost native fish species, or other measures to improve water quality. For this reason it is important that when undertaking these activities, the required biosecurity measures to prevent the risk of INNS spreading are implemented.
  • A biosecurity plan should be produced for each project (using advice or guidance from the relevant authorities) outlining and mitigating the potential INNS risks posed by suppliers, contractors, equipment and other individuals working on the project.
Annex 1: Relevant legislation and codes of practice

Annex 5: Agreed biosecurity guidance/plan for fisheries owners in GB

Biosecurity in Fisheries – how to reduce the risk posed by fish disease and invasive non-native species


Diseases and invasive non-native species pose a huge threat to fisheries and aquatic systems. Prevention of introduction is clearly better (and cheaper) than cure and maintaining good biosecurity is essential in reducing the risk of disease and invasive species introduction.

These guidelines are designed to help you, the fishery owner, to identify biosecurity measures that might be applicable to your site. They describe biosecurity measures that can be implemented and include a template to help develop and operate a meaningful plan.

1. Appoint a Biosecurity Manager/Champion

Identify an individual with the responsibility to ensure biosecurity measures are implemented. The biosecurity manager is responsible for producing and maintaining a biosecurity plan. This involves steps 2 and 3 below – to identify potential risks and then to decide on appropriate systems and procedures to control or reduce these risks.

2. Identify the risks of introducing disease or INNS

(a) Movement of people on and off the fishery

Where anglers visit the site you should consider the following:
  • Anglers visiting the water body with damp fishing gear or clothing that may unintentionally contain fish diseases or INNS from other sites.
Where the general public have access to, or near, the water body
  • Be aware of the potential for dumping of unwanted plant material or pets such as goldfish.
(b) Movement of vehicles and other equipment such as trailers
  • Particular attention should be given to work being undertaken in multiple sites in one day.
  • Be aware of mud within the tread of vehicle wheels which may contain plant seeds or fragments.
  • Be aware of plant fragments that may have become attached to the trailer and/or boat equipment.
(c) Movements of fish

Where fish or eggs have to be introduced from outside sources you should:
  • Be aware of the provenance of the fish when buying from any supplier.
  • Be aware of contaminants or hitch hikers on the fish and in the water brought in with the fish delivery.
(d) Habitat management
  • Where plants are being introduced to the site be aware of mislabelled plants and contaminants within the plants and any associated soil.
  • Be aware of INNS being spread into adjacent areas during the removal or disposal of vegetation as part of habitat management.
3. Identify risk limitation (enhanced biosecurity) measures

Once risks have been identified the fishery biosecurity manager/champion should decide on appropriate systems and procedures to control or reduce these risks. Such measures may include:
  • Training staff to recognise clinical signs of disease and enabling them to identify high risk INNS.
  • Providing advice on biosecurity to anglers and other visitors to the fishery.
  • Introducing biosecurity protocols and facilities for site visitors.
Fishery Biosecurity Plan Template

Suggestions for other more specific measures are outlined in the Fishery Biosecurity Plan template (PDF). This has been produced to outline measures that could be implemented to reduce the risk of invasive non-native species being introduced into, or spread from, your fishery. It should be noted that the template outlines a variety of measures to account for different fisheries, so may include measures that do not apply to your site. As a result, you do not have to adopt all of the measures listed under each section.

If you require the Fishery Biosecurity Plan Template in a different format, please contact us and tell us:
  • your name and email address
  • the format you need, for example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print, accessible PDF

Annex 6: List of priority species that we want to keep out (most are not yet present in GB but some are present and we do not want them being brought in again) and for which there is a risk of introduction via angling

[Impact scores are from: Gallardo, Belinda & Aldridge, David. (2013). Review of the ecological impact and invasion potential of Ponto Caspian invaders in Great Britain.]

Freshwater and brackish species

Very high priority
  • Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). Impact = 5.
  • Freshwater tubenose goby (Proterorhinus semiluaris). Impact = 5.
  • Tubenose goby (Proterorhinus marmoratus). Impact = 5.
High priority
  • Racer goby (Neogobius gymnotrachelus). Impact = 4.
  • Quagga mussel (Dreissena r. bugensis). Impact = 5. Introduced to GB in 2015, very localised distribution.
  • Killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus). Impact = 4. Introduced to GB in 2010, very localised distribution.
  • Various leaved water milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum). Impact score unavailable. Introduced to GB in 2015, very localised distribution.
  • Water primrose (Ludwigia peploides). Impact score unavailable.
Medium priority
  • Echinogammarus ischnus. Impact = 3.
  • Echinogammarus trichiatus. Impact = 3.
  • Dikerogammarus bispinosus. Impact = 3.
  • Limnomysis benedeni. Impact = 3.
  • Obesogammarus crassus. Impact = 3.
  • Pontogammarus robustoides. Impact = 3.
  • Hypania invalida. Impact = 3. Introduced to GB in 2008, localised distribution.
  • Chelicorophium robustum. Impact = 3.
  • Chelicorophium sowinskyi. Impact = 3.
  • Alternaterna philoxeroides. Impact score unavailable.
Marine species

High and very high priority

  • Barnacle (Amphibalanus reticulatus)
  • Sea grapes (Caulerpa racemose)
  • Say mud crab (Dyspanopeus sayi)
  • Titan acorn barnacle (Megabalanus coccopoma)
  • Barnacle (Megabalanus zebra)
  • Red algae (Polysiphonia subtilissima)
  • Alga (Pseudochattonella verruculosa)
Medium priority
  • A dinoflagellate (Alexandrium catenella)
  • Flat bottom sea star (Asterias amurensis)
  • Veined rapana whelk (Rapana venosa)
  • Nomad jellyfish (Rhopilema nomadica)

Annex 7: The Angling Trust biosecurity clause for inclusion in Angling Club constitutions

To provide Check, Clean, Dry materials to their members. This could include signage and materials being displayed at the club waters or access points, guidance on the organisation’s website, features in newsletters and sending materials to new members when they sign up.


Members of the Club are asked to undertake good biosecurity practice whilst they are using the club’s fishing waters. This includes:
  • Making sure that their equipment is dry and free of mud and plant material prior to arriving at the site.
  • After every fishing trip, cleaning their equipment and boots in accordance with the Check, Clean, Dry guidance. Particular care should be given to the seams of boots and waders and the rims of nets.
  • Day ticket users visiting the club are asked to follow the same Check, Clean, Dry guidance.

Annex 8: List of critical GB-restricted species that we want, as a priority, to contain or slow their spread and for which there is a risk of spread via angling

Freshwater and brackish
  • Killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus)
  • Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis)
  • Variable-leaved water milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)
  • Topmouth gudgeon (Pseudorasorba parva)
  • Compass sea squirt (Asterocarpa humilis)
  • Slipper limpet (Crepidula fornicata)
  • Carpet sea squirt (Didemnum vexillum)
  • Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
  • Asian shore crabs (Hemigrapsus takanoi and sanguineus)