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Trade with Third Countries

Imports from Third Countries

All countries that are not members of the European Union or a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) State are regarded as third countries for the purposes of importing.

Imports of fish, molluscs and crustaceans for farming, relaying areas, put-and-take fisheries, open ornamental facilities, closed ornamental facilities and research must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of origin. A licence to hold or release may be required for imports of non-native species. Please refer to Lobster Deposits and Introduction of Non-native species for further details.

Please complete an IMP2 notification form for all imports of fish, molluscs and crustaceans, their ova or gametes from a third country. Notification should be submitted at least five working days prior to the intended arrival date.

Importers should contact either their Local Authority Environmental Health Office or the Food Standards Agency Scotland to discuss additional certification requirements for consignments destined for human consumption.

All imports arriving in Great Britain direct from a third country must go through a Border Inspection Post (BIP). The health certificate will be examined by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) at the time of entry. APHA will prevent the entry of consignments which do not have the appropriate health certificate.

The BIPs for the importation of live fish, molluscs and crustaceans into Great Britain are situated at Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester. The BIP at Edinburgh Airport only accepts consignments of tropical fish, it does not accept consignments of coldwater fish and all molluscs and crustaceans. Consignments may be cleared through another BIP within Europe and then transported into Great Britain via any airport or port. Consignments travelling by air should comply with the standards set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Importers of exotic species should be aware of The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, more commonly known as CITES. It aims to protect certain plants and animals by regulating and monitoring their international trade to prevent it reaching unsustainable levels. Import, export and re-export permits are required to authorise trade in CITES species with non-European Union countries. Queries and applications should be directed to Defra's Wildlife Licensing Section.

Exports to Third Countries

All countries that are not members of the European Union or a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) State are regarded as third countries for the purposes of exporting.

The requirements for exporting fish, molluscs and crustaceans to a third country are determined by the competent authority in the country of destination. It is the responsibility of the exporter to ascertain what these requirements are and to gain copies of any health certificates, with translations, that must accompany the consignment. The exporter is responsible for ensuring that health certificates supplied to the Fish Health Inspectorate are accurate and will be accepted by the competent authority.

The Fish Health Inspectorate will then determine if the site of origin can meet those requirements or if further sampling is necessary to attest to the health status of the fish or shellfish on the site. If the site of origin cannot meet the requirements of the competent authority, the exporter or importer in the destination country may approach the competent authority to ask them to revise their requirements.