Travelling with pet fish: import rules

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Changes to the Health of Animals Regulations have affected the requirements for importing aquatic animals (finfish, molluscs or crustaceans) into Canada.

Aquatic animals that are brought into Canada must be declared and in the case of aquatic animals on the susceptible species list, must have an import permit unless otherwise exempt.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recognizes that some species of susceptible aquatic animals held in aquaria represent a low risk for spreading diseases. Therefore, some of these susceptible species have been granted an exemption, as outlined below.

Pet aquatic animal exemption

When importing an aquatic animal, an import permit will not be required when the owner can:

  • present proof of their identity and their ownership of the aquatic animal to the inspector at the point of entry into Canada
  • attest to the fact that the pet animal has not been taken to a show or display outside of Canada
  • keep the pet animal in their household aquarium
  • ensure the pet animal is not exposed to any aquatic animals other than those kept in the household, for one year following the importation
  • not import another pet aquatic animal as listed below for the period of 90 days after the importation
  • keep all records of the importation

- and -

The pet aquatic animal is one of the following susceptible species of finfish:

  • barbonymus gonionotus
  • carassius auratus
  • colisa lalia
  • danio rerio
  • glossogobius giuris
  • osphronemus goramy
  • oxyeleotris marmorata
  • poecilia reticulata
  • puntius sophore
  • symphysodon discus
  • toxotes chatareus
  • trichogaster pectoralis
  • trichogaster trichopterus

When importing pet aquatic animals, the owner is required to complete and provide the Importer's Declaration of Ownership for Pet Aquatic Animals Form at the point of entry.

Import permits are required for all live susceptible species of finfish including those listed above if the requirements for the pet aquatic animal exemption are not met.

For susceptible molluscs and crustaceans, an import permit is necessary unless the requirements for the personal use exemption found in the Health of Animals Regulations are met.

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

For more information, contact your CFIA Animal Health Office.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

It is the importer's/owner's responsibility to determine whether the species being imported is subject to the controls imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which are administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service for information.

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