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Importation of Pet Aquatic Animals

Changes to the Health of Animals Regulations will affect the requirements for importing aquatic animals (finfish, molluscs or crustaceans) as pets.

The requirements will come into effect on December 10, 2011. This will give Canadian importers time to review these requirements and how they apply to pet aquatic animals.

At this time, there are no import requirements for pet aquatic animals.

However, as of December 10, 2011, anyone bringing an aquatic animal into Canada must have a declaration or, in the case of aquatic animals on the susceptible species list, an import permit.

The declaration must include:

  • the name and address of the exporter and importer
  • the scientific name of the aquatic animal, the life stage it is at, and the number of animals being imported, if more than one
  • the country in which the aquatic animal originated from or where the germplasm came from and, in the case of an aquatic animal, whether it was born in captivity or in the wild.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recognizes that some species of susceptible aquatic animals held in aquaria represent a low risk for spreading diseases. Therefore, some of these susceptible species have been granted an exemption, as outlined below.

Pet aquatic animal exemption

When importing an aquatic animal, an import permit will not be required when the owner can:

  • present proof of their identity and their ownership of the aquatic animal to the inspector at the point of entry into Canada
  • attest to the fact that the pet animal has not been taken to a show or display outside of Canada
  • keep the pet animal in their household aquarium
  • ensure the pet animal is not exposed to any aquatic animals other than those kept in the household, for one year following the importation
  • not import another pet aquatic animal for the period of 90 days after the importation
  • keep all records of the importation

The pet aquatic animal is one of the following susceptible species of finfish:

  • Barbonymus gonionotus
  • Carassius auratus
  • Colisa lalia
  • Danio rerio
  • Glossogobius giuris
  • Osphronemus goramy
  • Oxyeleotris marmorata
  • Poecilia reticulata
  • Puntius sophore
  • Symphysodon discus
  • Toxotes chatareus
  • Trichogaster pectoralis
  • Trichogaster trichopterus

Import permits are required for all susceptible species of finfish including those listed above if the CFIA requirements are not met.

For susceptible molluscs and crustaceans, an import permit is necessary unless the requirements for the personal use exemption found in the Health of Animals Regulations are met.

The import requirements for pet aquatic animals can be found in the Health of Animals Regulations.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

It is the importer's/owner's responsibility to determine whether the species being imported is subject to the controls imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which are administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service for information.

For additional information on policies pertaining to exotic pet animals, visit the website of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC Canada).

Additional information on aquatic animals can be found at