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Here's an alphabetic list with definitions of some of the terms used on the Environment and countryside pages.

If you've seen a word or phrase that you don't understand, please check this glossary for an explanation. If the word or phrase doesn't appear here, please contact us and we'll provide a definition and include it here.

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Allocation - Distribution of the opportunity to fish among user groups or individuals. The share a user group gets is sometimes based on historic harvest amounts.

Allowable Biological Catch (ABC) - A term used by a management agency, which refers to the range of allowable catch for a species or species group.

Angling - Is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" (fish hook) which is attached to a fishing line and subsequent fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel and the hook itself can be camouflaged with bait or a float.

Anderson Reports – Sir Iain Anderson conducted an inquiry in to the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. In 2007 he was asked by the UK Government to chair a review of the Government's reaction to the 2007 FMD outbreak.

Animal By-Product – Animal carcasses, parts of carcasses, or products of animal origin that are no longer intended for human consumption.

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) - The agency was formed following the merger of Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency with Plant Health.Their role is to safeguard animal health and welfare as well as public health.

Autoclaving – Involves the high-pressure sterilisation of waste by steam which ‘cooks’ the waste and so destroys any bacteria in it.

Avian – Birds.

Avian Influenza – A highly contagious viral disease affecting many species of birds. It is commonly known as Bird Flu.


Benthic - something that is from bottom of the sea or lake (e.g. benthic plants are plants that live at the bottom of a lake or sea).

Biomass - The total weight or volume of a species in a given area.

Biosecurity – The activities taken to prevent the introduction of disease into a population that one is trying to protect.

Bovine – Cattle, bison and buffalo.

Bycatch - The harvest of fish or shellfish other than the species for which the fishing gear was set. Bycatch is also often called incidental catch. Some bycatch is kept for sale.

Byelaws - Provide detailed information on the rules applicable when fishing is permitted at specified intervals.


Closed herd - A herd in which no outside stock is introduced.

Camelids - Alpacas, guanacos, llamas and vicuñas, which are four members of the camel family native to South America.

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - This currently accounts for around 50% of the European Union's (EU) budget and largely determines agricultural policy within all Member States. The CAP is decided by the European Council through negotiations between Member States.

Caprine – Goats

Catch - Catch includes but is not limited to any activity that results in killing any fish or bringing any live fish on board a vessel.

Catch Per Unit of Effort (CPUE) - The number of fish caught from an area over some period of time. Typically, effort is a combination of gear type, gear size, and length of time gear is used. Some catch may be discarded.

Clinical signs – An indication of a medical condition that can be observed.

Cloven-footed animals – An animal with a hoof that is split in to two, such as a pig, sheep, cow or deer.

Companion animal – Domestic animals such as cats and dogs, kept for companionship.

Contaminant - Pollutant, impurity or toxin.

Cross compliance - The main direct source of payment for EU farmers is through the Single Payment Scheme which from 2005 has required recipients to comply with a number of standards relating to environment, public health and animal health and welfare.


Decoupling - In the Common Agricultural Policy context this means that farmers no longer have to keep a particular animal or grow a particular crop to secure a direct subsidy payment. See also Single Payment Scheme entry in this Glossary.

Direct payments - This refers to payments made to individual producers such as the Single Payment, Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy.


Effort - The amount of time and fishing power used to harvest fish. Fishing power includes gear size, boat size, and horsepower.

Emergency Co-ordination Centre (Wales) – The ECC(W) is responsible for co-ordinating advice on disease control from a Welsh perspective and the management of the wider consequences of a disease outbreak.

Endemic disease – Diseases that are known to exist in the populations of living things within a geographical area.

Entitlement - The Single Payment Scheme is paid each year, according to  individually established entitlements. Most entitlements were established in 2005 and calculated on a stipulated reference period - usually based on production in a given year or years. Entitlement is expressed as x hectares or part hectares, at £ Y rate per hectare. Entitlement for dairy producers was based on quota held 31 March 2005.

Epidemiology – The study of patterns of disease or productivity or welfare within an animal population and the factors that can affect those patterns.

Equidae/Equine – Horses, donkeys and zebras.

Eutrophication - Depletion or reduced oxygen in water.

Exotic disease – An exotic disease is not usually present in Great Britain but occurs in other countries.


Fishery-Dependent and Fishery-Independent Data - Fishery-dependent data is collected on a fishery from commercial or sport fishermen and seafood dealers. Fishery-independent data is collected by scientists who catch the fish themselves during scientific research, rather than depending on fishermen and seafood dealers.

Fishery Management Plan (FMP) - A plan to achieve specified management goals for a fishery. It includes data, analyses, and management measures for a fishery.

Fishing Beats - A beat is usually used in relation to salmon fishing where individual salmon rivers are broken down into individual sections or beats according to ownership.

Fishing Mortality (F) - A measurement of the rate of removal of fish from a population by fishing. The acceptable rates of fishing mortality vary from species to species.

Freshwater Fish Farms - The farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants.  Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions.


Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) - Receipt of the Single Payment is dependent on a farmer keeping the land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition.

Gamma Interferon blood test - A laboratory-based blood test, for the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis.


Harvest - The total number or poundage of fish caught and kept from an area over a period of time. Note that landings, catch, and harvest are different.

Historic model of the Single Payment Scheme - This refers to the approach to the Single Payment Scheme based on participation in CAP direct payment schemes in the reference years 2000, 2001 and 2002. The total amount of payments made under the Sheep Annual Premium, Beef Special Premium, Suckler Cow Premium, Slaughter Premium, Extensification Premium or Arable Area Payment Schemes, was used to set the budget for the Single Payment Scheme. The budget was increased in 2005 to include a compensation for the dairy sector.

Hydrography - a study of seas, lakes and rivers.


Incubation period – The period of time between an animal being exposed to an infection and the animal displaying the clinical signs of that disease.

Indigenous - Native to this country.

Inland Fisheries - This refers to locations where fishing activity occurs and fish are taken within fresh water for example from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

Insect-borne disease – A disease spread by insects.

Intertidal Fisheries Notices - Notices which provide restriction on fishing activity in the area between the land and sea that is covered by water at high tide and uncovered at low tide.  


Landings - The number or poundage of fish unloaded at a dock by commercial fishermen or brought to shore by recreational fishermen for personal use. Landings are reported at the points at which fish are brought to shore. Note that landings, catch, and harvest define different things.

Latrine - A shallow pit in the ground, up to 15cm deep, used by a badger to deposit faeces, urine and a scent mark.

Local Disease Control Centre (LDCC) – AHVLA will establish a LDCC to handle a disease outbreak/incident in Great Britain.

Livestock – Domesticated animals, such as cows and sheep, usually raised or kept for their meat and/or produce.


Marine Mollusc Farming and Marine Fish Farming -  This relates to mariculture which is a specialized branch of aquaculture involving the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in an enclosed section of the ocean, in tanks, ponds or raceways filled with seawater.

Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) - The agency that has responsibility for implementing the government’s maritime safety policy in the UK and works to prevent the loss of life on the coast and at sea.

Maximum Fishing Mortality Threshold (MFMT) - A determined level used by fishery managers to assess whether a fish stock is undergoing overfishing. If fishing mortality rates exceed MFMT, a stock is determined to be undergoing overfishing.

Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) - The largest average catch that can be taken continuously (sustained) from a stock under average environmental conditions. This is often used as a management goal.

Minimum Stock Size Threshold (MSST)  - A biomass level used by fishery managers to assess whether a fish stock is overfished. If the biomass of a fish stock falls below MSST, a stock is determined to be overfished.

Microchipping – A microchip is a unique electronic implant inserted into an animal for the purpose of identifying it.

Modulation - A set percentage reduction is taken from the total budget for the single payment Scheme with the  funds used to fund rural development measures. Compulsory, EU-wide modulation funds are used to fund rural development measures throughout the EU. Voluntary modulation is raised by Member States or regions within them to fund rural development measures in the area rendering the funds.

Mycobacterium bovis - The bacterium that causes bovine tuberculosis.


National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) – The GB response to a disease outbreak/incident is co-ordinated through a NDCC.

National Reserve - 3% of the total money available in Wales for SPS was siphoned into a fund  used to establish entitlements for applicants in specific eligible categories when the Scheme was introduced.

Natural Mortality (M) - A measurement of the rate of removal of fish from a population from natural causes. The rates of natural mortality vary from species to species.

Notifiable disease – A disease that must be reported to the veterinary authorities (AHVLA) if anyone suspects that an animal is infected.


Optimum Yield (OY) - The harvest level for a species that achieves the greatest overall benefits, including economic, social, and biological considerations. Optimum yield is different from maximum sustainable yield in that MSY considers only the biology of the species.

Overfishing - Harvesting at a rate equal to or greater than that which will meet the management goal. A stock or stock complex is considered undergoing overfishing when fishing mortality rate exceeds MFMT.

Ovine – Sheep.


Pathogen – A disease-producing agent such as a virus, bacterium, or other microorganism.

Pelagic - Found in open sea (e.g. pelagic birds are birds that live in the waters of the ocean, rather than near the shore).

Pillar 1 - Originally most agricultural support was provided to the industry indirectly, through market measures. Progressive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy reintroduced and amended a system of direct support for individual recipients. The Single Payment Scheme is now the main direct payment, the current direction of the CAP is to move support towards Pillar 2.

Pillar 2 - Expenditure under the Rural Development Regulation is referred to as Pillar 2. The second increasing side of CAP Pillar 2 measures are aimed at supporting rural communities to develop and diversify and environmental protection and conservation measures.

Porcine – Pigs.

Post mortem examination - The examination of a body after death to try and find out the cause of death.

Prevalence - The proportion of a defined population being infected with a disease at any point in time.

Products of animal origin – Can be anything that comes from animals.


Quota - The maximum number or weight of fish that can be legally landed in a time period. It can apply to the total fishery or an individual fisherman’s share under an FQA system.


RDP - The Rural Development Plan for Wales sets out the Welsh Assembly's strategy for rural development, Pillar 2 measures.

Recreational Angling - Recreational angling is classed as “sport fishing” and fishermen are often required to apply catch and release fishing. In many locations size limits apply to certain species, resulting in fish below and/or above a certain size must by law be released.

Recruitment - The amount of fish added to the exploitable stock each year due to growth and/or migration into the fishing area. For example, the number of fish that grow to become vulnerable to the fishing gear in one year would be the recruitment to the fishable population that year. This term is also used in referring to the number of fish from a year class reaching a certain age.

Reference period - This is a designated period on which entitlements are based. Activity - such as participation in CAP direct payment schemes in a given year, or years is used to calculate the level of payment to which a claimant may be entitled. 

River Coarse Fishing - Coarse fishing is a term used for angling for coarse fish, which are those types of freshwater fish other than ‘game’ fish (salmon and trout) and includes chub, carp, barbel, bream, roach and dace.

Ruminant – Includes cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer, elk, giraffes and camels.


Sensitivity - The ability of a test to correctly identify an infected animal as positive, normally expressed as a percentage.

Single Application Form (SAF) - the claim form for the Single Payment. SAFs are dispatched from the Welsh Assembly Government to entitlement holders. Completed forms must be received by the local Welsh Assembly Government offices no later than 15th May in any year of the Scheme's operation. Payment then can be made at any time between 1 December and 30 June in the following year.

Single Payment Scheme (SPS) - From January 2005, this replaced most of the various CAP direct payment schemes. It is not linked to production and is  conditional: farmers must keep the land in "good agricultural and environmental condition" (GAEC) and meet cross compliance requirements. Entitlement for the majority of claimants was established in 2005 by application. Payment is made via the Single Application Form ( SAF) which must be received no later than 15th May in any year of the Scheme's operation. Payment then can be made at any time between 1 December and 30 June in the following year. Most payments are made at the earliest opportunity.

Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) - The number of eggs that could be produced by an average fish recruiting to a fished stock divided by the number of eggs that could be produced by an average recruit in an unfished stock.

Spawning Stock Biomass - The total weight of the fish in a stock that are old enough to spawn.

Specificity - The ability of a test to correctly identify an uninfected animal as negative, normally expressed as a percentage.

State Aid - a European Commission term for assistance from a public body or publicly-funded body.

Statutory Management Requirement (SMR) - an obligation covering environmental, public health, plant health and animal health and welfare standards.

Stock - A grouping of fish usually based on genetic relationship, geographic distribution, and movement patterns.

Stock Assessment - A scientific analysis on the condition of a fish stock and the interests of the fishermen and seafood processors who use the stock.

Still Waters - A flat or level section of a stream where no flow or motion of the current is discernible and the water is still.

Strategy for Sustainable Development of EU Aquaculture - The European Commission published a strategy which had three main elements namely i) help the sector become more competitive through research and development, ii) maintaining environmentally friendly production methods and standards of animal health and welfare and iii) ensure a business friendly environment locally, nationally and at European level.

Susceptible animals – Animals of a species that are able to be infected naturally or artificially by a disease.

Sustainable Fisheries Programme - A project funded by the Welsh Government which enables the Environment Agency to remove barriers and improve methods of access for migratory fish within rivers.

Swine – Includes pigs, hogs, and boars.


TB Breakdown - Detection of bovine tuberculosis or a test positive animal in a herd previously considered to be free from TB.

TB Reactor - A reactor animal is one that has failed the tuberculin skin test.

Third country – A country that is outside the European Union.

Total Allowable Catch (TAC) - The annual recommended catch for a species or species group. The regional council sets the TAC from the range of the acceptable biological catch.

Total Mortality (Z) - A measurement of the rate of removal of fish from a population by both fishing and natural causes. The rate of total mortality may vary from species to species.


Vector – A carrier of disease.

Veterinary risk assessment – An assessment of the risk of a disease entering an animal population or a change in the level of disease in a population by looking at the population of animals at risk, the nature of the disease as well as the management and environmental factors that can influence these. Factors that reduce the risk are also taken in to account.

Viral disease – Virus.


Wild animal – Animals not normally domesticated in Great Britain.


Zoonotic disease – Diseases that can affect humans as well as animals.