Publication - Independent report

Exotic pets - Scottish Animal Welfare Commission: interim report

Published: 3 Sep 2021

An interim report produced by the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission on exotic pets in Scotland.

Exotic pets - Scottish Animal Welfare Commission: interim report
Appendix III - Ornamental fish trade in Scotland 2019

Appendix III - Ornamental fish trade in Scotland 2019

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association supplied detailed information for 2019, based on discussions with its Scottish members.

Coldwater ornamental fish species in trade and estimated numbers sold in Scotland in 2019 (Pie Chart 1):

Goldfish are by far the most popular species constituting 89% of the coldwater market.

Tropical freshwater fish such as tetras, guppies and danios form the largest section of fishkeeping. They are the category most popular for beginners and most commonly kept in general because they are hardy in nature, adapting well to the varying water types across the UK, and because of their ability to live well together in ‘community’ tanks. They are often shoaling fish so need to be sold/kept in small groups which means people will often have quite a number of pet fish, unlike most other types of pet. Within this category there are more specialised species such as cichlids or discus which require more targeted knowledge and aquarium set ups. Across the UK, the vast majority (over 90%) of these fish species are captive reared and supplied mainly from Asia (Singapore and Malaysia) with some from the Czech Republic. We estimate that less than 5% of tropical freshwater fish sold in Scotland are wild caught.

Tropical freshwater ornamental fish species in trade and estimated numbers sold in Scotland in 2019 (Pie Chart 2):

Within these families, the most common species traded are Neon tetras (170,000 individuals), guppies (170,000) and zebra danios (70,000).

Tropical freshwater ornamental fish species vs coldwater ornamental fish in trade and estimated numbers sold in Scotland in 2019 (Pie Chart 3):

Tropical freshwater ornamental fish constitute 82% of sales compared to coldwater fish.

Tropical marine fish. This category represents the more specialised end of the hobby, requiring more knowledge and equipment. It is not common for people to start with a marine (saltwater) aquarium, unless it is set up and maintained by a specialist consultant business. There are estimated to be over 2000 species of marine ornamental fish in trade globally although the vast majority of the species are sold in small quantities and overall numbers in trade are much lower than tropical freshwater species, typically 20% of the UK ornamental fish trade by numbers of different species sold (though under 1% of volume (see below)).

Data on number of species in trade is difficult to ascertain (see response to question 2 below) but discussions with our Scottish members indicate that the most common marine ornamental fish species in trade suitable for domestic aquaria are:

Tropical marine fish species in trade and estimated numbers sold in Scotland in 2019 (Pie Chart 4):

Included within the “Other” category are species that are individually popular in the trade, such as Anthias (1.3% of annual sales) and Boxfish and Pufferfish species (1.3%).

Tropical freshwater, tropical marine, and coldwater fish species in trade and estimated numbers sold in Scotland in 2019 (Pie Chart 5):

Although figures are indicative, as can be seen, marine ornamental fish constitute a very small proportion of the trade in Scotland.


Contact

Email: SAWC.Secretariat@gov.scot