Aquatic animal imports

The National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP):

  • implements controls to prevent aquatic animal diseases from being imported into Canada
  • 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 National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) regulates the import of all aquatic animals into Canada.

The requirement for an import permit, zoosanitary certificate or other documentation is based on the susceptibility of the aquatic animal to Canada's diseases of concern. The following Susceptible species of aquatic animals require import permits. This list provides the taxonomic names of the susceptible species and the disease(s) to which they are susceptible.

Import permits issued by the CFIA and zoosanitary certificates endorsed by the exporting country may be needed to import live and dead susceptible species. Import of susceptible species are allowed from countries that have negotiated zoosanitary certificates with the CFIA. Information on import documentation requirements and the countries approved to export to Canada can be found in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).

When the CFIA requires aquatic animals to be tested for disease before import, the foreign authority is advised to reference the Test selection and sampling requirements for aquatic animal imports.

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 where the aquatic animal was born or where the germplasm came from
  • whether the animal is from captivity or 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 importer should refer to Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and ensure that an import permit is required for the commodity (ies) being imported, prior to completing the application. The Application for Permit to Import Aquatic Animals and/or their Offal (CFIA/ACIA 5670) must be completed by the importer. Importers should contact the CFIA's Centre of Administration for Permissions (COA) with their questions or concerns.

This permit to import can be requested through the Agency's online service portal, My CFIA. By signing up for a My CFIA account, you can submit a new service request, track the status of your application and pay for the service online.

If you do not have access to My CFIA, the completed application can also be faxed or mailed to CFIA, Centre of Administration (CoA). The COA will contact importers if additional information is required before issuing an import permit.

Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit Exemptions

Susceptible aquatic animals being imported as pets or for personal use do not require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit. Importers should still check the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to confirm if there are other criteria that need to be met before importing.

Listservs

Importers are encouraged to sign-up to receive email notifications of 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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