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Marine and fisheries


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Great Britain has additional guarantees for Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC), Gyrodactylus salaris (Gs) and Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) as set out in Commission Decision 2004/453/EC. Again, these recognise the high health status of Great Britain in relation to these diseases.

Strict fish health requirements apply to movements into approved zones and those with additional guarantees. Fish can only enter if they come from an area which has equal or higher health status. This means that any susceptible species coming into these areas have to be accompanied by certification confirming their freedom from these diseases.

Intra-community trade and trade with "third countries"

All imports arriving from non-EU countries must go through a designated Border Inspection Post (BIP).

All importers should ensure that their contacts in third countries take steps as a matter of urgency to ensure that the animal health certificates are completed correctly.

Please note that Fish Health Inspectors monitor all consignments where there are irregularities in documentation and they will take action if any are likely to pose a risk to the fish health status of this country.

Council Directive 2006/88/EC came into effect last year.  Secondary Community legislation made under the Directive, namely Commission Regulations 1251/2008 and 1250/2008 for the placing on the market and import from third countries of aquaculture animals and products thereof, and amending Regulation 2074/2005 in respect of certain fishery products for human consumption respectively has resulted in the introduction of new conditions and certification requirements.

These new Regulations, as well as introducing new requirements, also provide certain transitional arrangements until 30 June 2009, which allow the use of both the new certificates detailed in Regulation 1251/2008 as well as the certificates which have been in use for some time now under Decisions 2003/804, 2003/858 and 2006/656.  After 30 June 2009 only the new certificates under Regulations 1251/2008 and 1250/2008 will be accepted.

The new certificates under Regulation 1251/2008 are quite complicated and cover a wide range of different live fish, molluscs and crustaceans.  This could potentially lead to initial problems with officials in, particularly third countries incorrectly completing the health attestation section of the certificates, thereby resulting in delays in the release of consignments when they arrive at the UK Border Inspection Posts.  We would therefore strongly advise that you use this transitional period to speak with your suppliers and advise them to ensure that the certifying officials are completing them correctly and where stipulated to do so, crossing through all the information in the health attestations that is not applicable to the consignment.


The Department takes the lead for the UK in negotiations on fish health matters within the EU. Together with the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), we are responsible, through the Fish Health Inspectorate, based at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) for the implementation and enforcement of fish health policy in England and Wales.

If you have any queries about the import of live fish or molluscs please contact:

Fish Health Inspectorate at the CEFAS Weymouth Laboratory
Barrack Road
The Nothe
Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB
Tel: 01305 206673/4

If you have queries about the import of fish products of aquaculture origin please contact:

Ian Everett
Aquatic Animal Health Unit
Area 5D
17 Smith Square
London, SW1P 3JR
Tel: 020 7238 5110
Fax: 020 7238 2460

Queries relating to public health aspects of such imports should be addressed to the Food Standards Agency imported food helpline 020 7276 8018.

The Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) is responsible for fish health matters in Scotland together with the Fisheries Research Services, Aberdeen.


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Page last modified: 11 June 2009
Page published: 8 April 2005

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs