While transporting fish and other aquatic pets across state, territory, or international borders is not as common as transporting other pets, it does occur, such as when people relocate and take the animals from their aquarium or koi pond with them.
When considering interstate or international travel for your pet fish or other aquatic animal, plan ahead because some preparations may need to start months in advance.
The information contained in this section is supplemental to Transporting Animals - Basic Requirements and Considerations and Basic Timeline for Interstate and International Travel with Animals, which apply to all animal species. In addition, please review the following AVMA resources, which were designed with pets and pet owners in mind.
Some aquatic animals, such as piranha, that are kept as pets are actually regulated, and their ownership, possession, or transport may be restricted or prohibited by fish and wildlife authorities in some locations. Other aquatic animals, such goldfish, do not require special permits for people to own. A similar dichotomy exists for the aquatic plants that might be incorporated into your aquarium or pond. If you are unsure whether or not the species of aquatic life you have requires a permit to keep or move, check with your state wildlife management agency. For a more detailed discussion on movement of wildlife species, please see Transporting Wildlife Species or Their Hybrids; for a more detailed discussion on transporting commercial fish and other farmed aquatic animals, please visit Transporting Livestock - Including Alternative Livestock, Poultry, Aquaculture, and Livestock Kept as Pets.
Countries, territories, states, and even public modes of transportation have requirements and restrictions on the transport of animals. Depending on the species of fish or other aquatic animal you have and where you are going, a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) may be required by the authorities at destination. In addition, a permit or other documents may be needed if your animal is a regulated species. Be aware that some countries and states may require your animal to be placed in quarantine upon arrival.
It is your responsibility to comply with the import requirements of the authorities at the destination, and the chart below will help you find the rules and regulations that impact you and your fish or other aquatic animal. In addition, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association may be able to assist you with your animal’s international travel.