The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Marine and Fisheries Division's, Fish Health Inspectorate will normally inspect all imports at the place of destination. However, checks may also be carried out at the 'port of entry' or at any point on the route to the destination.
Imports arriving in Northern Ireland without the appropriate documentation may render the importer liable to prosecution and may require the consignment to be returned to the country of origin at the importer's expense, or to be destroyed.
Any movement arriving in Northern Ireland without the appropriate documentation must not be released into any waters.
Imports from the European Union (EU)
The rules explained here apply to all movements of live fish, their eggs and gametes irrespective of the purpose to which they are put. They cover any movement into Northern Ireland from anywhere else in the EU including Great Britain, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
All movements must meet the rules of the EU fish health regime under Directive 2006/88/EC.
The EU fish health regime under Directive 2006/88/EC
All movements of fish or shellfish into Northern Ireland must be notified on Traces and be accompanied by the appropriate animal health certificate laid out in Commission Regulation 1251/2008. This must be signed by the competent authority of the exporting country.
Certificates must also provide information which clearly identifies the consignment and enables the aquaculture animals to be traced back to their place of origin.
All imports must be notified to the Division at least 48 hours prior to arrival. This information must include details of:
- what the consignment contains
- the method of transportation
- the port or airport of arrival
- the flight number or vehicle registration
- the actual date of arrival
- the final destination of the consignment
If you are dividing up a consignment of fish, you must ensure that all the fish have been imported under these rules.
You must retain movement documents for at least 12 months from the date of arrival of the consignment.
Movements of fish into NI
As Northern Ireland is declared disease free for the listed fish diseases VHS, ISA, IHN & KHV and has Additional Guarantees for BKD, SVC and GS, all movements of live fish, eggs and gametes of susceptible species must only come from other BKD, SVC, GS, VHS, ISA and IHN Disease Free Zones.
Movements of shellfish into NI
As Northern Ireland (excluding Lough Foyle and Strangford Lough) is declared disease free for the shellfish diseases Bonamia and Marteilia, imports of shellfish of susceptible species must only come from other Bonamia and Marteilia Disease Free Zones.
Imports of Pacific Oyster into Larne Lough must also came from areas declared free from OSHV1-uvar.
Disease status of Member States is set out in Commission Decision 2009/177/EC.
The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985
The import of any non-native species must be authorised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) by means of a licence issued under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.
Imports into Great Britain
For details of imports of fish into Great Britain please visit the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) website.
Imports from outside the European Union
Information is also available relating to imports of fish from outside the EU.