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Guidelines for Importing Fish from Other Countries

Date Published - 9th November 2015 - Published by - iQuatics Ltd

‘Import-ant’ Information Below

As with all hobbies, aquarium keepers usually fall into one of two categories; the reefer who ambles down to his local pet shop and picks up the most vibrant, attractive stock, and the collector who strives to create a unique, inimitable tank. Either of these are great, and perhaps naturally you’ll fall somewhere in the middle. If you are the type to trawl the internet (and indeed the world) in search of the rarest, most exotic fish from distant lands, there are some important regulations you need to be aware of.

Getting Your License

Regardless of what you’re importing the fish for, whether they’re going to make an attractive set piece in the living room, or a main course in the dining room, you’re going to need to make sure they’ve got the right accreditation before they set foot (or fin) in the UK. Naturally, attaining the right accreditation is a complicated affair that requires you to contact multiple organisations with all sorts of very official-sounding abbreviated names. Primarily, however, you’re going to need to make sure you’re authorised by the FHI – the Fish Health Inspectorate. This body governs the import of all types of fish and crustaceans into the UK, and makes sure they’re not at risk of contaminating British supplies with unconventional, foreign diseases.

On the Continent or Further Afield

Depending on where you’re looking to import fish from, you’re going to need to acquire relevant certification to satisfy UK border agencies that your stock is safe and risk-free. If your fish are at risk from controlled diseases, you’re going to need a health certificate, even if they come from EU countries or EFTA member countries. You’re also going to need to declare a notification to import live fish at least 24 hours before they arrive. Naturally, imports from outside of the EU, coming from all sorts of tropical climates and settings, are more likely to be at risk of controlled diseases, and thus will need a health certificate from their country of origin before they’ll get through our borders.

Starting the Process

In truth, the process of importing exotic plant and animal life into the UK is naturally a long and bureaucratic one, which is necessary to protect our ecosystems and habitats. In this article we’ve barely scratched the surface of the accreditation you need, but have hopefully given you some jumping off points to put you in the right direction; you should be able to find all the information you need here. Remember, if you’re importing endangered or incredibly rare fish, you’ll need to make sure they recognise the regulations set by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. If you do import any particularly rare or note-worthy species, be sure to let us know via our social media!

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