Instructions to Complete the Fish Import Notification Form

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

All imported fish for commercial sale must be notified within 48 hours of the shipment clearing customs to one of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) offices listed below closest to the final storage location or the Import Service Centre.

For shipments where the final storage destination is in:
Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario,
notify: One (1) CFIA Inspection office closest to the location of the imported shipment of fish.

For shipments where the final storage destination is in Quebec:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
2001 Robert-Bourassa Boulevard, Rm 671-RMO
Montreal, QC
H3A 3N2
Telephone: 514-283-8888
Facsimile: 514-283-8985

For shipments where the final storage destination is in:
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
notify: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Atlantic Import Center - Fish
99 Mount Pleasant Road
PO Box 1036
St. George, NB
E5C 3S9
Telephone: 506-456-4063 (English) / 506-755-5160 (French)
Facsimile : 506-456-4066

For more information, refer to the Canadian Regulatory Requirements for Fish Import Licence Holders (Basic Importers) or the Regulatory Requirements for Fish Import Licence Holders with a Quality Management Program (QMPI). For each shipment of fish imported, all of the following information is required by the CFIA. If the information provided is incomplete or inaccurate, the CFIA cannot process the shipment. The Fish Import Notification (FIN) is returned to the importer and the shipment remains on hold. Importers who fail to provide the CFIA with the required information are subject to licence sanctions.

  1. Importer Name - name of the company importing the fish products.
  2. Importer Contact Person - name of the person responsible for the imported fish shipment.
  3. Contact Email – email address of the contact person at the Importer
  4. Contact Telephone Number - telephone number of the contact person identified in (3).
  5. Contact Fax Number - fax number to which CFIA inspection decision can be sent.
  6. Import Licence No. - licence number of the company importing the fish products.
  7. Importer PO/Tracking No. - a number assigned by the importer to identify the shipment. This information is added to the invoices so that it can be easier to reconcile the notifications with the invoices.
  8. CBSA Transaction No. - this is a 14 digit number/barcode that is assigned by to each imported shipment.
  9. Expected Date of Arrival in Canada - date the shipment is due to arrive in Canada. If shipment has already entered into Canada, the date it cleared customs.
  10. Customs Entry Point in Canada - customs entry point where shipment entered into Canada.
  11. Warehouse Name and Address - name (for public warehouses) and address of the warehouse where the shipment must be held until the importer receives a release decision from CFIA.
  12. Attestation - name, signature, and date of person acknowledging that the information declared on the form is accurate and that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the products meet Canadian regulatory requirements.
  13. Foreign Producer - name, address, and country of the final producer who processed the fish prior to importation into Canada. The final producer is considered the establishment that has processed the fish and processing includes cleaning, filleting, icing, packing, canning, freezing, smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, drying or preparing fish for market in any other manner. Include the foreign plant or facility number if available.

    For live or raw molluscan shellfish indicate the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shipper List (ICSSL) number or shellfish registration number of the plant.

  14. Product Description: Each of the lots in the shipment must be declared by providing the following information:

    Lot - a shipment or part of a shipment of fish that is of the same species, is processed in the same manner by the same producer, is packaged in the same size and type of container and bears the same label.

    E.g., 5 lb bags of frozen raw shell-on shrimp of various size count.

    E.g., 200 g cans of light tuna in water of various production codes.

    Product units whose labels differ only with regards to varying size designations or count ranges are considered to be part of the same lot unless a product size/count labelling requirement or product standard exists.

    1. Brand Name - if applicable include the commercial brand name, e.g., "Our brand".
    2. Product Description including - the name of the product as identified on the label (retail or master carton) including descriptive terms, (e.g., Canned sardines in mustard sauce).
    3. Common name - acceptable common name of the product (in Canada). Acceptable common name in Canada can be found in the CFIA Fish List.
    4. Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN) - The CFIA Fish List provides the TSN which applies to a fish species. The Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility website also provides information on the TSN of fish species.
    5. Species Risk Group – select from the list depending on whether the species of fish is at risk for environmental contaminants, histamine production or marine toxins. Species risk group can be found in the CFIA Fish List.
    6. Product Processing Risk Group - select from list below based on how the product is processed:
      1. Canned - Retorted, e.g., Canned sardines
      2. Ready-to-eat - Cooked, e.g., Cooked Shrimp
      3. Ready-to-eat - Pasteurized in a container, e.g., Kamaboko
      4. Ready-to-eat - Safety parameters, e.g., Pickled Herring
      5. Ready-to-eat - No safety parameters or heat, e.g., Cold smoked salmon
      6. Non RTE - Live, e.g., Live tilapia
      7. on RTE - Raw, e.g., Salmon fillets/steaks
      8. Non RTE - Multiple Species / Food Commodities, e.g., Seafood dumplings
      9. Non RTE - Breaded/Battered, e.g., Breaded fish sticks
    7. Certificate Number - Enter the certificate number for a lot when a certificate recognized by the CFIA has been issued by the competent authority. For information on competent authorities that issue product certificates recognized by the CFIA please consult the section on Import Information by Jurisdiction on CFIA's Website.
    8. Product form - Please check off the box only if the product is oil, roe or organ (typically liver, or hepatopancreas; other organs as applicable). If this box is not checked off, the product will be considered as the meat from fish or seafood.
  15. Storage Conditions and Shelf Life - Check-off the box which indicates how the fish product is to be stored (room temperature, frozen, or refrigerated).
  16. Shelf life (in days or months) for refrigerated products only.
  17. Production Method - check-off the box which corresponds to how the fish was raised, in the wild or by farming (aquacultured). The supplier/producer must be able to inform you as to whether the fish used in the product was sourced from aquaculture/farming or the wild. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the website Fishbase, a Global Information System on Fish, provide information on fish species produced commercially from aquaculture/farming and the countries where commercial farming is in place. These sites may assist you in verifying the information from your supplier/producer regarding the production source. Please note that in the case of Fishbase only vertebrate species of fish are covered.
  18. Country of harvest - indicate the country where the fish was harvested. This is a mandatory field for farmed/aquacultured fish and for live or raw molluscan shellfish, which is associated with marine toxin.
  19. End Use: check-off the box which applies

    Retail - any product that is for sale in a store or sold directly to a consumer

    Food Service - any product that is for sale to the food service industry that is NOT for sale in a store or sold directly to a consumer

    For further processing - fill out Import Products Destined for Further Processing in Federally Registered Establishments (CFIA/ACIA 5608).

    Product must undergo significant transformation at a federally registered facility in order to be considered for further processing. The imported product must meet the food safety standards. Sensory, label and net weight are assessed after the product reached its final form. Examples of significant transformation include: filleting, canning, freezing, smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, and drying.

  20. No. of cases - the number of shipping cartons/cases of fish that was imported.
  21. Units per case - the number of individual units packed in each shipping carton (e.g., 24 cans or packages in each shipping carton). For bulk packages indicate "N/A" - not applicable in this box.
  22. Unit weight - the weight in kilograms of the individual unit or for bulk packages the weight of the shipping carton.
  23. Container Design/Shape: for canned - retorted products only

    Metal Cans - indicate shape (round or non-round)

    Glass Jars - indicate "glass jar"

    Retort Pouch - indicate "pouch"

    other - indicate container type e.g., plastic container with foil lid, plastic tube.

  24. Code/Size - for all ready-to-eat and canned products, a can code list must be included with the notification. A can code list includes the name of the foreign producer, the number of shipping cartons of each production date code and instructions to interpret the production date code.

    e.g., 50 cases = 220108/P1234 and 50 cases = 240108/P1234

    Where first 2 digits = day, next 2 digits = month, next 2 digits = year and P1234 = plant no. 1234, My Fish Company, 1 Canada Place, Canada.

ICN Line No. and Decision - CFIA completes the following columns

ICN line no. - The CFIA issues a unique Import Control Number (ICN) for each shipment. The ICN can be found on the top right hand corner of the form. Each lot in a shipment is also given a line number which begins with 1. This line number, with the ICN uniquely identifies each lot in the CFIA's database.

Decision - CFIA's inspection decision for each lot in the shipment.

REL: means the lot is "released to the importer" for distribution.

DET: means the lot is "detained" for CFIA inspection, the importer must hold the lot for inspection. The lot can not be moved from the location identified on this form (Box 10) unless permission is granted by CFIA. The request must be made in writing using the "Request for Permission to Move Fish Under Detention" form found in Chapter 2, Subject 3, Appendix D of the Fish Products Inspection Manual.

Date modified: