Biosecurity is about reducing the risk of introducing or spreading invasive non-native species (and other things like diseases) in the countryside.

Species and diseases can spread by hitchhiking on boat hulls, fishing rods, bike tyres, walking boots, wellies, survey equipment and even dog paws! When we visit a different place, these often-invisible hitchhikers can be transferred and can become established, sometimes with devastating effects. Gardeners also need practice good biosecurity and not allow plants to spread into the wild, and dispose of garden plants and compost with care.

With good biosecurity routines we can all do our bit to reduce and minimise the spread of invasive species, pests and diseases, and stop the spread!

washing wellies

What should you do?

Everyone can follow a basic biosecurity routine, as a matter of course;

  • Arrive with clean, dry footwear and equipment.
  • CHECK – Before leaving a site check footwear and equipment visually for soil, debris, plant & animal matter, small organisms etc.  Carry a basic biosecurity kit (hoofpick, brush & water) and remove debris on site.
  • CLEAN - Clean and wash footwear, clothing and equipment with appropriate disinfectants, ideally on site, where the washings should be left. If this is not possible bag your gear carefully and wash as soon as possible, but do not let the washings enter any watercourse or drains.
  • DRY - dry your kit & footwear thoroughly, some species can live for many days in damp, moist conditions.

Read more about biosecurity



Many aquatic invasive species and diseases are impossible to see and easily transferred from one water body to another on waders, rods, nets and boats. Follow the CHECK, CLEAN, DRY guidance for anglers, and ensure you are aware of which invasive species to watch out for. 

Download the Anglers Check Clean Dry leaflet.


Boat & kayak users

Invasive species could be spread in any water or material. Boat users should take care to avoid moving these between water bodies. Follow the CHECK, CLEAN, DRY guidance for boat users, ensure boats & trailers are cleaned, including removing biofouling from hulls before transfer to another site.

Download the Boating Check Clean Dry leaflet
Download the Canoe & Kayak Check Clean Dry leaflet


Event organisers

Outdoor event organisers can play a key part in improving biosecurity and protecting the environment. Participants should be asked to arrive at the event with their kit clean and dry. A cleaning station should be set up for those that arrive with damp or dirty kit and for use after the event.

Download the Scottish Event Biosecurity Support Pack


Walkers & mountain bikers

We love exploring the countryside but we need to take responsibility for being bio-secure.  As well as the risk of spreading aquatic organisms if walking near rivers, there is a risk of spreading tree pests and diseases.  Tree pests and diseases, can easily hitch a ride in mud and debris on shoes, paws and tyres, ending up in new forests. Read more about how you can Keep it Clean

Gardeners & pond owners

Follow the Be Plant Wise guidance to ensure you don’t allow aquatic or garden plants to escape into the countryside and find out how to Compost with Care. Lots of advice is available to allow you to garden with native species alternatives.

Booklets to download;


Each Fishery Trust/Board that looks after the river environment also has a Biosecurity Management Plan which covers the prevention, detection and control of aquatic, riparian and marine invasive non-native species and fish diseases within a river catchment.

Visit the River Biosecurity Plans page.