Monday, 4 March 2019

2019 updated - Export live fish and shellfish: special rules

Check if you need a certificate to export live fish, molluscs and crustaceans.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, from 30 March 2019 you’ll need to apply for an export health certificate (EHC) if you’re exporting live fish or shellfish to the EU.
You’ll need an EHC for all exports of fish to the EU, including farmed fish and shellfish. You will not need an EHC for direct landings from a UK flagged fishing vessel.
An official vet or local authority environmental health officer will sign the EHC to confirm the quality and health of the export. There’s no fee for the EHC, but you will need to pay for the services of the vet or local authority.
EHC forms for fish exports will be available before the UK leaves the EU.

Within the EU: current rules

Check with the fish authority in the destination country to find out if you need an export health certificate.
If you’re exporting to Norway, you may also need a UK catch certificate.

Apply for an export health certificate

You apply for export health certificate by submitting an export notification at least 5 working days before you export.
The form you fill in depends on whether you’re exporting from:
You’ll get a certificate when your application is approved. If required by the destination country:
  • your goods will be inspected first
  • TRACES notification will be made for you
Attach the certificate to your consignment.

Outside the EU: current rules

If your goods aren’t being used as food, check with the fish authority in the destination country (or their embassy in the UK) to find out what documentation you need. Your local fish inspectorate can help you get the right documents.
If you’re exporting fish or shellfish to be used as food, check if you need a:

Check if you need an EHC

You will usually need to complete an EHC and some supporting documents to be able to export live fish and shellfish.
There are some types of live fish and shellfish you cannot export, or cases where you don’t need a certificate. If you cannot find the EHCyou need, contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
To find out if you need an EHC and apply, follow these steps.
  1. The Export Health Certificate form finder helps you find and fill out the EHC and other supporting forms you will need to export your live fish or shellfish. If you are exporting from Northern Ireland, contact your local DAERA office. Most EHCs will also have guidance documents that give information on how to fill out the certificate.
  2. Fill out the EHC and supporting forms and email them to the APHAaddress provided in the forms.
  3. In most cases you will need to nominate an official veterinarian (OV) to inspect your fish or shellfish and sign the certificate.
  4. APHA will send your EHC to your OV within 7 working days.
  5. The OV will check the fish meets the health requirements of the destination country, complete the EHC and sign. The completed EHCwill go with the fish, and the OV will send a copy to APHA.
To find an OV you can:
There is no fee for processing the EHC but you will need to pay for the OV’s services.

Use the most up to date EHC

EHCs are sometimes updated when export agreements are changed. So make sure you are using the latest version of a certificate. The EHC form finder will always have the latest version.
Out of date forms will be rejected and cause delays to your exports.
You can sign up for alerts on the form finder, so that you get an email when a form is updated.

Check if you need a UK catch certificate

You need a UK catch certificate to export marine caught fish for human consumption to:
  • Iceland
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kuwait
  • Madagascar
  • Norway
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • any other non-EU country if you’ll re-import the fish back to the EU
You don’t need a catch certificate to export:
  • farmed fish and shellfish, or freshwater fish
  • mussels, cockles, oysters and scallops
  • fish fry or larvae

How to apply

Fill in a UK catch certificate (PDF97.2KB3 pages)
Email your completed form to
If the fish came from more than one UK vessel, also fill in a multiple vessel schedule (MS Excel Spreadsheet524KB. Submit it with the catch certificate application form.
If you’re exporting from Scotland, contact Marine Scotland to get the certificate.


Fish inspectorate in England and Wales

Fish Health Inspectorate
Telephone: 01305 206700
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Fish inspectorate in Scotland

Fish Health Inspectorate
Telephone: 01224 295525
Fax: 01224 295620
Find out about call charges

Northern Ireland fish division

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)
Fisheries and Environment Division
Telephone: 028 9056 9262
Find out about call charges
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Telephone: 0345 933 5577
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

UK Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catch certificate centre
Telephone: 0300 123 1032
Fax: 0207 238 5147
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Endangered fish and shellfish

Use the Species+ tool to search for your fish or shellfish. Check which annex (A, B, C or D) it’s classified as under EU wildlife trade regulations.
What you need to do depends on whether you’re exporting within the EU or outside the EU.
If Species+ says the fish or shellfish is banned, you can’t export the product.

Within the EU

If the fish or shellfish is classed as B, C or D, you don’t need to do anything.
If it’s classed as Annex A, you must apply for an Article 10 certificate.
You don’t need any special documents if you’re using or displaying goods for non-commercial reasons, for example scientific research or in an educational display.

Apply for an Article 10 certificate

Fill in either:
You can use the guidance notes (PDF606KB15 pagesto help you.
Include any supporting documents that show you acquired the product legally, for example:
  • a copy of the import permit
  • a previous Article 10 certificate (use the yellow copy)
The certificate costs £31.
You should get your certificate within 15 working days.

Outside the EU

If it’s classed as A, B or C, you need a CITES export permit.
If it’s classed as D, check the animal’s CITES listing in the Species+ tool. If it’s in Appendix III, you’ll need a CITES export permit. Otherwise you don’t need to do anything.

Apply for a CITES permit

Fill in either:
Use the guidance notes (PDF739KB13 pagesif you need help.
If you’re re-exporting goods include a CITES import permit to prove it legally entered the EU.
Email or post the completed form to the Centre for International Trade Bristol.
A permit costs £63 (or £37 to re-export). You should receive it within 15 working days.
If you’re exporting as part of conservation work, you might be able to get a fee waiver through:
You can use the guidance notes (PDF290KB2 pagesif you’re unsure how to fill it in.

Regular exports for public exhibition

If you regularly take fish or shellfish abroad for a short period of time for public exhibitions, you could use a travelling exhibition certificate (PDF2.71MB208 pagesinstead of a CITES permit. You’ll also need to follow the usual rules for exporting fish.
You can use the certificate whether you’re moving goods within or outside the EU.
You can add multiple specimen types in one application if needed.
It’s valid for 3 years and means you don’t need to apply for permission each time you take your display items abroad.​
To apply, fill in form FED0173 (PDF64.4KB2 pages.
Post or email the completed to the APHA Centre for International Trade Bristol.
You’ll get your certificate within 15 working days and there’s no fee.