Aquatic Animal Imports

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Aquatic Animal Health Import Program:

  • implements controls to prevent aquatic animal diseases from being imported into Canada, and
  • safeguards Canada's natural aquatic animal resources.

The CFIA defines aquatic animals as finfish, molluscs and crustaceans. This definition includes live aquatic animals, dead aquatic animal products, germplasm and gametes.

The following import requirements for aquatic animals can also be found in the Health of Animals Regulations.

Importing Aquatic Animals into Canada

The CFIA National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) regulates the import of all aquatic animals into Canada.

Import requirements differ based on the susceptibility of the aquatic animal species to Canada's diseases of concerns. Susceptible species of aquatic animals are listed in Schedule III. Susceptible Species of Aquatic Animals for Importation provides a summary of the scientific names of the susceptible species and identifies the disease(s) to which they are susceptible.

Non-susceptible species of aquatic animals

Imports of non-susceptible aquatic animals do not require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit for entry into Canada. Imports of non-susceptible aquatic animals must be accompanied by documentation containing the following information:

  • the name and address of the exporter;
  • the name and address of the importer;
  • the taxonomic name of the aquatic animal, the life stage, and the number being imported, if more than one;
  • the country in which the aquatic animal was born or where the germplasm came from; and
  • whether the animals are from captivity or in the wild.

Susceptible species of aquatic animals

Imports of susceptible aquatic animals require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit for entry into Canada. Import permits contain specific requirements based on the disease risks associated with the aquatic animal, the origin, the commodity type, the end use of the aquatic animals in Canada and other relevant health information.

Imported susceptible aquatic animals may also require export health certification or other documentation from the country of origin to ensure that the aquatic animals imported into Canada meet Canadian aquatic animal health requirements. Additional documentation requirements are outlined in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). Due to rapid changes in the health status of foreign trade partners, the CFIA NAAHP recommends that importers refer to AIRS to determine the most up to date import requirements.

Obtaining an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit

The Application for Permit to Import Aquatic Animals and/or their Offal (CFIA/ACIA 5670) is completed by the importer. Prior to completing the application, the importer should refer to AIRS and ensure that an import permit is required for the commodity(ies) being imported. Importers should contact the CFIA's Centre of Administration for Permissions (COA) with their questions or concerns.

The completed application is emailed, faxed or mailed to the COA. Fees will be charged for import permits where applicable. The COA may contact importers if additional information is required before issuing an import permit.

Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit Exemptions

Anyone importing susceptible aquatic animals to be used as pets or for personal use does not require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit but should nevertheless make sure that they satisfy specific import criteria.


Importers are encouraged to sign-up to receive email notifications for important updates on aquatic animal policies and information on changes to AIRS.

Information we provide for the aquatic animal industry includes:

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