Aquatic animal by-products
The disposal of dead fish and aquatic animal by-products (ABPs) is covered by the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (Scotland) Regulations 2013. Any business generating material of aquatic origin which is not intended for human consumption needs to be aware of how these regulations apply to their business.
Categories of aquatic ABP
ABP from aquatic animals are categorised into one of three groups according to the nature of the hazard/risk which they could pose.
Category 1 (few aquatic animals would fall into this category):
- aquatic animals containing certain prohibited substances above specified levels or unacceptable levels of environmental contaminants (for example fish contaminated with fuel from an oil spill or fed contaminated feed)
Category 2 (mortalities would fall into this category):
- fish or aquatic animals which die from a notifiable disease - such as infectious salmon anaemia (ISA)
- aquatic animal products containing unacceptable levels of residues of veterinary drugs and higher than specified minimum levels of certain contaminants
- fish or parts of fish that die, other than being slaughtered for human consumption, including fish killed for disease control purposes. This includes all mortalities occurring during the production cycle in aquaculture, including fish that die from disease
- third country imports that fail to comply with veterinary requirements for their importation into the Community
Category 3 (processing waste would fall in to this category):
- carcases (heads, frames) and parts of slaughtered fish, which are fit for human consumption but are not intended for human consumption for commercial reasons
- carcases and parts of slaughtered fish, which are unfit for human consumption, but derive from carcasses that are fit for human consumption i.e. viscera; internal organs containing parasites
- carcases and parts of carcases of slaughtered fish, which are rejected as unfit for human consumption, but which do not show signs of disease communicable to humans or animals
- fish or other sea animals, except sea mammals, caught in open sea for the purposes of fishmeal production or bait
- by-products from fish plants manufacturing fish products for human consumption
- shells from shellfish that contain soft tissue or flesh
Where the product is made up of more than one category, the highest category applies (category 1 being the highest).
It is your responsibility to ensure that you dispose of fish and any other aquatic ABP material correctly. Each category of waste should be disposed of using defined or specific processes due to the risks posed to humans and other animals.
The person responsible for the product must ensure that it is disposed of via the following routes.
Category 1 aquatic ABP can be disposed of by:
- incineration or co-incineration at an ABP approved plant
- pressure sterilisation
- using them as fuel for combustion at an ABP approved combustion plant
Category 2 aquatic ABP can be disposed of by:
- incineration or co-incineration without processing or with prior processing
- sending them to authorised landfill after processing by pressure sterilisation
- making them into organic fertilisers / soil improvers after processing by pressure sterilisation
- using them in composting or anaerobic digestion (sites must operate to European standards)
- using the Fish Silage Processing Method (ensiling followed by heat treatment) it may be composted or transformed into biogas
- using them as fuel for combustion
Category 3 aquatic ABP can be disposed of by:
- incineration or co-incineration
- sending them to landfill after they have been processed
- processing them, if they are not decomposed or spoiled, and using them to make feed for farm animals
- processing them and using them to make petfood
- processing them and using them to make organic fertilisers / soil improvers
- using them in composting or anaerobic digestion
- using the Fish Silage Processing Method (ensiling followed by heat treatment) - same as Category 2 method
- using them as a fuel for combustion
Disposing of small quantities of ABP
If you are a retailer, a distributor, or a manufacturer, you can send up to 20kg of raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish products to landfill every week. This is a weekly limit, not an average limit over a number of weeks.
Your local authority or your local Animal and Plant Health Agency office will be able to help you locate approved ABP disposal sites for you to use.