Publication - Advice and guidance

Importing and exporting live aquatic animals from 1 January 2021

Published: 11 Nov 2020

Guidance on importing or exporting live fish, molluscs and crustaceans into or out of Scotland after the Brexit transition period ends on 1 January 2021.

Published:
11 Nov 2020
Importing and exporting live aquatic animals from 1 January 2021

The UK has left the EU and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year. This page provides information on importing or exporting live fish, molluscs and crustaceans, including their eggs and gametes, into or out of Scotland from the 1 January 2021 for the following purposes.

  • Aquaculture including live shellfish for depuration prior to human consumption
  • Ornamental trade
  • Scientific research
  • Restocking

This guidance does not apply to dead fish and shellfish, fish and shellfish products, or live shellfish for immediate consumption.

Importing

To minimise disruption to your business at the border points there are actions you will need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period. More information can be found in the Border Operating Model.

Import from an EU or EFTA country

From 1 January 2021:

The UK will operate a full, external border with the EU. This means that live aquatic animals imported from the EU and EFTA countries which are fully harmonised with EU sanitary and phytosanitary standards will be subject to new import controls. They must:

  • have been pre-notified by the importer using the new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). The notification must be submitted at least one working day before the consignment is due to arrive.
  • be accompanied by an aquatic animal health certificate completed by the competent authority in the country of origin which meets the requirements for entry into Great Britain.

The consignment may enter via any point of entry. Random checks at the destination may be carried out.

From 1 July 2021:

New import requirements will apply to live aquatic animals imported from the EU and EFTA countries which are fully harmonised with EU sanitary and phytosanitary standards. They must:

  • have been pre-notified by the importer using IPAFFS at least one working day before the consignment is due to arrive.
  • be accompanied by an aquatic animal health certificate completed by the competent authority in the country of origin which meets the requirements for entry into Great Britain.
  • enter through a Border Control Post (BCP) for live aquatic animals so they are available for documentary, identity and physical checks.

The animals that BCPs are equipped and approved to process will differ between BCPs. It is the responsibility of the importer/exporter to ensure that the consignment is routed via an appropriate BCP. A list of all BCPs in the UK is avilable.

Import from a non-EU country

You will no longer have access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) from 1 January 2021 and will need to use IPAFFS for all imports of live fish, molluscs and crustaceans and their eggs and gametes from non-EU countries. You must use IPAFFS to notify the UK BCP at least one working day before your consignment is due to arrive.

Consignments must be accompanied by an aquatic animal health certificate completed by the competent authority in the country of origin which meets the requirements for entry into Great Britain.

You must continue to import live animals into the UK through a Border Control Post.

Exporting

Export to an EU Country

From 1 January 2021, new export requirements will apply to live aquatic animals exported to the EU. You’ll need:

  • an export animal health certificate. Check with the Competent Authority or Official Service for Aquatic Animal Health in the destination country to find out which export animal health certificate is required.
  • to contact the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) at Marine Scotland to apply for an export animal health certificate. Certificates must be signed by a fish health inspector following an inspection of the consignment. You will need to give the FHI a minimum of 5 working days’ notice in advance of export to request a certificate and inspection.
  • to get your consignment checked at a Border Control Post (BCP) in the first EU country they enter. The BCP must be able to accept live aquatic animals.
  • to make sure your importer/ EU-based import agent has notified the BCP that your consignment is arriving.

Export to a non-EU country

There’s unlikely to be any change to the current export rules and processes for countries outside the EU. Make sure you check the existing guidance.

Border Control Posts in the EU

You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP, from 1 January 2021. These checks are made to protect animal health, animal welfare and public health.

Your consignment may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to Great Britain, if it arrives at an EU port without a BCP or a BCP that can’t check your type of goods. You must find a BCP that can accept your type of goods as not all BCPs accept all goods. Consider how to redirect your trade route if needed.

There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they are usually at EU ports and airports. Check the main list of BCPs. There have been 8 extra BCPs added in early October 2019

All EU BCPs require advance notice of consignments arriving. Check with the BCP you’re planning to use for how much notice is needed. Contact your importer or agent in the EU to make sure they notify the BCP through TRACES of the arrival of the consignment. They must do this within the time limits set out by the BCP.

If your goods fail inspection because of risks to animal or public health, they will be destroyed immediately. The BCP will not usually contact the exporter directly.

Fish Health Inspectorate
Marine Scotland
Marine Laboratory
375 Victoria Road
Aberdeen
AB11 9DB

Email: ms.fishhealth@gov.scot

Telephone: 0131 244 3498

If an urgent matter related to the issues listed above arises outside normal office hours, you can telephone the On Call Inspector for assistance on +44 (0)131 244 1833.

For imports into and exports from England and Wales, contact the Fish Health Inspectorate at Cefas.