Publication - Advice and guidance

Importing and exporting live aquatic animals

Last updated: 6 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 11 Nov 2020

Guidance on importing or exporting live fish, molluscs and crustaceans into or out of Scotland.

Published:
11 Nov 2020
Importing and exporting live aquatic animals

This page provides information on importing or exporting live fish, molluscs and crustaceans, including their eggs and gametes, into or out of Scotland for the following purposes.

  • aquaculture
  • ornamental trade
  • scientific research
  • restocking

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

Gov.uk have published copies of new health certificates for importing to Great Britain.

Import from an EU or EFTA member state

From 1 January 2021:

The UK operates a full, external border with the EU. This means that live aquatic animals imported from certain countries are 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 Important of Products, Animal, 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 July 2022:

In addition to the requirements that came 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. Gov.uk have published a full list of all of the BCP's in the UK.

Import from a non-EU country

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  have been produced. 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

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 enter via any point of entry.

New model health certificates are accessible on the gov.uk website. 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 or EFTA member state including Northern Ireland.

From 15 January 2022, businesses exporting live aquatic animals for further ongrowing in aquaculture facilities, restocking, ornamental trade and scientific research will be required to use a new animal health certificate. The certificate template can be found in Annex II of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2236.

This applies to exports to EU Member States, certain EFTA member states and Northern Ireland.

It is a requirement that the certificate is signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) rather than a fish health inspector and exporters must contact a commercial OV to arrange inspection of the animals. The FHI will continue to provide guidance to exporters.

You will 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 FHI to confirm if your site and the consignment meet the animal health certification requirements of the destination country. The FHI will make an assessment and provide feedback
  • contact an OV to make arrangements for them to inspect the consignment and issue the health certificate. A list of commercial OVs can be found here Commercial OVs in Scotland
  • submit a completed EXP1 form to the FHI a minimum of five working days’ notice in advance of export. You must also supply contact details for the OV that will issue the certificate
  • instruct your OV to contact the FHI to discuss arrangements for provision of the draft health certificate, notes for guidance and, if required, to coordinate the inspection of the consignment within 72 hours of loading
  • ensure the consignment is labelled appropriately. The FHI will provide you with a template transport label
  • provide the OV with the required records and declaration. If the inspection is satisfactory, the OV will sign and issue the health certificate
  • ensure that the original signed certificate accompanies the consignment to the Border Control Post (BCP) or Point of Entry (POE - Northern Ireland only). A copy of the certificate must be provided to the FHI
  • get your consignment checked at a BCP or POE in the first EU country they enter. The BCP/POE 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

Export to a non-EU country

Exports to non-EU countries may require a certificate and additional testing for certain diseases. The certification and testing requirements are determined by the Competent Authority of the receiving country. It is the responsibility of the exporter to obtain a copy of the required certificate and details of any additional requirements. The FHI will assess whether your site meets these requirements. Additional testing may be required before the certificate can be issued and the Inspectorate can provide a quote for this work.

Movements to the British Islands

Consignments of live aquatic animals moved from Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) to Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey can enter via any point of entry.

Consignments destined for Northern Ireland must follow the procedure detailed above for exports to an EU or EFTA member state including Northern Ireland.

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 five 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. 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. A list of the major BCPs has been released . Entry into Northern Ireland is via a Point of Entry (POE). POEs are located at Larne and Belfast.

All EU BCPs require advance notice of consignments arriving. 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.

Contact

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.

First published: 11 Nov 2020 Last updated: 6 Jan 2022 -