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Exporting aquatic animals from Canada: overview

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for certifying that aquatic animals and their products for export do not pose human and animal health risks.

Who in the CFIA is responsible for aquatic animals and seafood exports?

The CFIA has a dual role pertaining to the exports of aquatic animals and seafood products:

Who determines the exact requirements for aquatic animal and animal products?

The importing country sets the conditions for export. There are several steps that need to be taken to determine the requirements for export of Canadian aquatic animals and their products.

If an importing country wants to know if my product is safe, whom do I contact?

Exporters should request an official copy of the importing country's requirements and then contact their local CFIA office.

Why is export certification required?

Every country has the authority to protect their consumers from unsafe seafood and to prevent introduction of aquatic animal diseases that may impact their aquatic resources.

Why is aquatic animal health certification sometimes required for the export of seafood products destined for consumption?

Seafood can be exported live or for further processing before human consumption. This means that the aquatic animals may be re-immersed in water in the importing country or processed in plants where effluent is discharged into the environment. Introducing potentially infected animals or animal products are potential avenues for disease introduction.

What if an exporter cannot meet the importing country's certification requirements?

If CFIA officials determine that your aquatic animals or product do not meet the importing country's requirements, you will be informed that immediate access to this market is not possible. The ability to gain market access will depend on negotiations with the importing country. Resolution is dependent on many factors and negotiation is not always successful.

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