Publication - Advice and guidance

Importing and exporting fish and shellfish: Trade within the EU

Published: 12 Mar 2020

Guidance on the safe import and export of fish, shellfish and crustaceans to prevent the spreads of disease.

12 Mar 2020
Importing and exporting fish and shellfish: Trade within the EU

Trade within the EU

The European Union comprises the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States of Norway and Iceland have implemented the relevant fish and shellfish health legislation and can trade as if they are full members of the EU.

Although the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey are part of the United Kingdom, they are recognised as separate health zones from Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) and movements of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and their ova or gametes from these areas into Great Britain must be accompanied by the appropriate health certificate, where required.

Council Directive 2006/88/EC lays down legislation on animal health requirements and the prevention and control of certain diseases in aquatic animals and has been incorporated in to Scottish legislation in The Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

The Directive identified two categories of disease that should be controlled to prevent introduction or further spread of:

Exotic Diseases - very serious diseases which are not present in the Community and could have significant economic and environmental consequences.

Non-Exotic Diseases - serious diseases which are present in some parts of the Community.

Several diseases are also controlled via national measures to prevent the introduction or spread of those listed diseases.

A list of susceptible species and species capable of acting as vectors can be found in list of susceptible species and list of vector species.

The movement of fish,  molluscs, crustacean, species (incuding their ova or gametes)  susceptible to or vectors for the listed diseases are only permitted between Member States, zones or compartments with equivalent health status or from a higher to a lower health status. Movements of susceptible or vector species are prohibited from an area with a low health status to an area with a high health status.

Great Britain is recognised as free form (Category I) ISA, VHS, IHN, SVC, Gyrodactylus salaris and Marteilia refringens. There are several areas in Great Britain recognised as being infected with Bonamia ostreae, but the rest of the coastal zone is free. Great Britain is recognised as free from OsHV-1 ┬Ávar, apart from four areas in England. The country has undetermined status with regard to KHV and white spot.

Movements from the European Union and EFTA States into Great Britain

Movements of susceptible and vector species for those diseases that Great Britain has control measures in place for, must be accompanied a health certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of origin. The Fish Health Inspectorate must be notified of movements from other EU Member States, zones or compartments or EFTA States into Scotland at least 24 hours prior to arrival of the consignment. Notification of the arrival of these consignments should be made using the form IMP2.

Movements to the European Union and EFTA States from Great Britain

Movements of susceptible or vector species to approved Member States, zones or compartments with control measures in place, may require the consignment to be inspected by the Fish Health Inspectorate prior to a health certificate being issued. If you are exporting please notify the Inspectorate using the form EXP1. Notification is required five working days prior to departure of the consignment.