Canadian Aquatic Veterinary Import Requirements

To protect Canadian aquaculture industries from aquatic animal diseases the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) now requires an import permit issued by CFIA, and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) issued by a USDA-APHIS Category II Accredited Veterinarian that is endorsed by an APHIS Area Veterinarian-in-Charge, before allowing U.S. finfish, crustaceans and molluscs into Canada.

Phased in during late-2012 and early-2013, the CFIA regulations require a veterinary certificates (an ‘official zoo sanitary export certificate’) to verify that each shipment of aquatic species intended for Canada, are not infected with specific infectious and contagious disease agents regulated in Canada.

These regulations were implemented to strengthen the Canadian Government's National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) addressed in 2012 amendments to the Canadian Health of Animals Act and refinement of the Health of Animals and Reportable Diseases Regulations that are now codified in the Canadian Aquatic Animal Regulations (CRC, c. 296).

The CFIA regulations specifically affect the importation of live ornamental or pet fish, aquatic species intended for commercial aquaculture, fish eggs, and baitfish and species used as feed for aquatic animals.  The regulations will impact private aquariums, pet stores, individual hobbyists, research and diagnostic laboratories, universities and colleges using animals for educational use, and animals intended for shows and exhibitions.  Regulations addressing the importation of live and un-eviscerated finfish, crustaceans and molluscs specifically intended for direct human consumption, do not require a health certificate issued by a veterinarian.  CFIA provides a list of species affected by these regulations.

Accredited veterinarians that assist their clients should be familiar with Canadian import requirements and should contact the CFIA Area Office in the Provincial destination of an import shipment for specifics, and to obtain the necessary export permit.  USDA-APHIS National Center for Import and Export provides on-line veterinary certificates and instructions (see Aquatic Animals section on the NCIE webpage) for shipments of aquatic animals to Canada.  It is also advisable to contact the appropriate APHIS AVIC for additional assistance and for scheduling CVI endorsement.