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.

Copies of the new health certificates for importing into Great Britain are available.

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 certain countries will be subject to new import controls and transitional measures. The countries subject to these measures are EU member states, Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

Consignments 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 and can be made up to 30 days in advance
  • 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. Please contact the FHI to confirm which is the correct certificate to use

A Unique Notification Number (UNN) will generated by IPAFFS once the notification has been submitted. This number must be provided to your supplier or their certifying officer so the certifying officer can add the UNN to the health certificate. Once the consignment has arrived in Scotland a copy of the health certificate must be upload to IPAFFS.

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

From 1 July 2021:

In addition to the requirements that come into force on 1 January 2021 consignments must 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. View the list of all BCPs in the UK.

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, but a notification can be submitted up to 30 days in advance.

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. New health certificates are available. Please contact the FHI to confirm which certificate to use.

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

Movements from the British islands

From 1 January 2021 consignments of live aquatic animals moved into Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) from elsewhere in the British Islands (Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) can continue to enter via any point of entry. 

New model health certificates are available. Please contact the FHI to confirm which is the correct certificate to use. The original, signed health certificate must accompany the consignment to its destination.

You must continue to notify the Fish Health Inspectorate at least 24 hours prior to arrival of the consignment using the IMP2 form.

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 to:

  • get 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
  • 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. Please complete the EXP1 form with the details and submit to the FHI
  • 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
  • make sure your importer/ EU-based import agent has notified the BCP that your consignment is arriving using TRACES-NT

Exporting live bivalve molluscs to the EU for depuration

Live bivalve molluscs (LBMs) from class B waters must be depurated before human consumption. LBMs that are to be depurated in the EU must be accompanied an aquatic animal health certificate issued by the Fish Health Inspectorate. This certificate only applies to consignments from aquaculture farms.

There is currently no health certificate available for the export of wild caught LBMs for depuration in the EU. Wild caught LBMs from class B waters must be depurated prior to export to the EU. Once depurated they must travel with a joint public and animal health export health certificate issued by your local Environmental Health Officer.

Export to a non-EU country

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

Movements to the British islands

From 1 January 2021 consignments of live aquatic animals moved from Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) to Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey can continue to enter via any point of entry. 

Consignments destined for Northern Ireland must enter via a BCP designated for live aquatic animals. These are located at Belfast and Larne harbours, but your customer should confirm with the competent authority which is the correct point of entry.

Your customer is responsible for notifying the competent authority of when the consignment will arrive.

The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) at Marine Scotland will issue the required health certificate that must accompany the consignment to its destination. You will need to give the FHI a minimum of 5 working days’ notice in advance of export to request a certificate and inspection, if required. Please complete the EXP1 form with the details and submit to the FHI.

Border control posts in the EU

When exporting 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.