Guide to selling fish online

OATA firmly believes that bricks and mortar shops are the best place for people to buy fish. By offering customers the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of watching live fish swimming around, we believe shops help to inspire and captivate people to become the next generation of fish-keepers. We do not believe that online-only shops are able to do this in quite the same way.

But we also acknowledge that consumer habits are changing. Internet sales are here to stay and more people are buying live fish online. For some people living in more remote parts of the UK, travelling to their nearest aquatics shop may mean a very long trip so they turn to online shops to enable them to pursue their hobby.

So we have produced a guide to the responsible selling of livestock online which gives advice on a range of issues from sales to packing and transporting fish. Our guide outlines the law on distance selling and also makes clear our expectations of what a responsible seller should be doing when they sell fish and arrange delivery to customers. By knowing the standards that a responsible seller should be working to, we also think it will help customers to decide who to buy fish from online.

With this guide we hope to improve fish welfare and raise awareness and standards among both sellers and customers about the best way buy and move fish.

Key points include:

  • Live fish should NEVER be sent by Royal Mail. Only approved couriers can carry live fish and no-one should buy fish from a seller who says they will send their fish through the normal post.It shows a complete disregard for the welfare of the fish they are selling.
  • A firm date and time for delivery should also be established and someone over the age of 16 should ALWAYS be in to take delivery of the parcel. This ensures fish spend no longer than necessary in transit packaging.
  • Good after-care information should be included with the fish. Find our care sheets here.

We have also received updated advice from Royal Mail about sending corals through Royal Mail. Read it here.

Fish are living creatures and their welfare should be paramount to both buyer and seller.

Find our Guide to the Responsible Distance Selling of Livestock here.

OATA also supports the Pet Advertising Advisory Group’s work on online selling calling for websites which sell animals to at the very least follow its minimum standards. Find more here.

Are you a customer?

Here are six questions to ask yourself before buying fish online.

Are you a shop?

Here are 6 good reasons to show your customers about why buying fish in a pet shop is the way to go.

Feel free to download all these documents and use them in your shop or to show you are working to these standards when selling fish online.