Welcome to N. Ireland
Packaged in food-grade poly bags within specially designed Styrofoam boxes the fish arrive in the UK by Air Freight, a journey which may have taken anything up to 24 hours.
Like all visitors to the UK the first stop is "Passport Control", or in this case DEFRA, who inspect the shipment for any irregularities or prohibited species before it is transferred to the next available flight to Belfast.
From the Airport they are taken without delay to our own quarantine facility where they are introduced into freshly prepared tanks and allowed a further 24 hours in subdued lighting to recover from their ordeal.
Over the next few weeks they are slowly acclimatised to local water and food, monitored for health and treated for any minor ailments which they may have developed. Only when they are fully settled and feeding well, are they transferred to the shop and offered for sale.
The length of time which the fish spend at the quarantine facility varies greatly, not only between species, but even between different consignments of the same species.
Many spend only the minimum period of 2 weeks before moving to the shop, others may remain for months, or even years, before they are deemed suitable for the rigors of the shop and their eventual new homes.