Import Requirements for Aquatic Animals
November 30, 2012: The requirements for imports of aquatic animals (finfish, molluscs, and crustaceans) into Canada are changing.
Beginning December 10, 2012, aquatic animals listed on Schedule III of the Health of Animals Regulations will require an import permit to enter the country. This measure is aimed at protecting Canada's aquatic animal resources.
The enforcement of these new requirements will be phased in and will come into effect either on December 10, 2012, February 4, 2013 or April 8, 2013 depending on the specific end uses and the applicable codes.
Importers must apply in advance by completing an application form. A completed application form should be faxed or mailed to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Area office. A response from the CFIA within five business days of receipt of the application form will provide information on how to proceed.
If aquatic animals are imported after these dates without required documentation, a shipment could be refused entry into Canada.
Import permits contain specific requirements based on the disease risks associated with the animal, the origin, and other relevant health information. Imported aquatic animals require health certification from the country of origin, to ensure that the animals imported into Canada, meet Canada's aquatic animal health requirements.
All imports of live or dead aquatic animals (finfish, molluscs, and crustaceans) are still required to be declared at the border.
Revisions to the Health of Animals Regulations
In 2010, revisions were made to the Health of Animals Regulations to include aquatic animals to protect against the introduction and spread of disease and address the increasing demand for aquatic animal health certification on exports of seafood from Canada's four billion dollar industry.
The revisions made Canada consistent with international standards set out by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Singapore and Thailand also have aquatic animal health programs for the commodities they export.
As a result of these changes Canada has agreements in place with trade partners such as the United States, Singapore, Thailand and Iceland to ensure that their commodities are eligible for entry into Canada. The CFIA continues to develop agreements with other exporting countries to maintain trade and safeguard Canada's natural aquatic animal resources.
For more information on aquatic animal import permits, please contact your CFIA Area office:
- Atlantic: 506-851-7651
- Quebec: 514-283-8888
- Ontario: 226-217-8555
- West: 403-292-4963
For more information on the National Aquatic Animal Health Program, visit www.inspection.gc.ca/aquatic.
Follow us on Twitter for the latest on animal health: www.twitter.com/CFIA_Animals.
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