General rules on marketing and movement of fish in Northern Ireland

The of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is responsible for the management and oversight of fish movements to and from Northern Ireland.


There are a number of rules to follow if you wish to place live fish, eggs or gametes on the market. Separate but similar rules apply in Great Britain. 

The term 'placing on the market' means:

  • holding or displaying for sale
  • offering for sale
  • selling, delivering, transferring or any other form of placing on the market

Live farmed fish placed on the market must not:

  • show any clinical signs of disease at the time of loading for dispatch
  • be intended for destruction or slaughter under an official disease eradication scheme
  • come from a farm which is subject to EU fish health prohibitions
  • have been in contact with fish from a farm which is subject to such prohibitions

For eggs or gametes to be placed on the market, the fish which produced them must meet the above requirements.

To market dead fish for human consumption, the farmed fish from which they were produced must not have shown clinical signs of disease on the day of loading for dispatch.


To move live fish you must make sure that:

  • they are transported under conditions that do not alter their health status
  • the duration of the journey is as short as possible
  • the vehicle is cleaned and disinfected before the journey starts
  • no water escapes from the vehicle

All steps must be taken to safeguard the health of the fish including, changing the water in which they are transported.


All consignments of live fish or their products must be accompanied by information which:

  • identifies the consignment
  • enables the farm or place of origin to be traced
  • enables the consignment to be linked to a movement document covering the consignment

This information can be provided on the container, on a label attached to the container or on a movement document if one is required.


All imports must be notified to Fisheries Division at least 24 hours prior to arrival, either directly to the Division or by notification through the TRACES system.

You must give information on the mode of transport to be used and the date of dispatch. We must be given at least two working days notice prior to internal movements or exports of fish.

You can download a notification of proposed fish movement form.

Movement documents

All movements of fish or shellfish into an Approved Zone must be accompanied by the appropriate movement document which has been signed by the official service of the exporting country.

The movement document must be on a single sheet of paper and drawn up no more than two working days prior to the consignment being loaded for dispatch.

Movement documents must be in the language of the country of destination and are valid for ten days. They must also provide information which clearly identifies the consignment and enables the aquaculture animals to be traced back to their place of origin.

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