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Certification Requirements for Ornamental Imports

Certification Requirements image

Health Certificates Required

The table below shows which animal health certificates are required under Commission Regulation (EC) 1251/2008 and Commission Decision 2010/221/EU.  Both you and your supplier should be aware of these requirements.  Your supplier should arrange to have the consignment certified by the relevant authorities in the country of origin. Full text versions of any piece of European legislation can be found on the EUR-Lex website.


Consignment for Import Certificate Required
Coldwater Ornamental Fish from another EU member state Intra-EU Certificate for Open Ornamental Facilities: 1251/2008, Annex II Part A, as amended
Tropical Ornamental Fish from another EU member state Certification is not required
Coldwater or mixed (coldwater and tropical) ornamental fish from outside the EU

Import Certificate for Open Ornamental Facilities: Commission Regulation 1251/2008/EC Annex IV Part A as amended

Tropical Ornamental Fish from outside the EU

Import Certificate for Closed Ornamental Facilities: 1251/2008 Annex IV Part B as amended 


Import Certificate for Open Ornamental Facilities: 1251/2008 Annex IV Part A as amended if part of a mixed consignment.


Note: Tropical species are ornamental aquatic animals which are held in heated aquaria and which are not capable of surviving in the natural aquatic environment in Ireland.

The Marine Institute is the Competent Authority for the implementation of Fish Health Regulations. Other regulations may apply when importing ornamental aquatic animals, for example the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Please note, the import or sale of genetically modified (GM) ornamental fish is currently illegal in the European Union. This includes GM varieties of Zebrafish Danio rerio  commonly known as GloFish®. In Ireland, the agency responsible for the regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Further information on the illegal import of GM Zebrafish can be found on their website. If you suspect that GM ornamental fish are being sold in Ireland you should notify the EPA.


Veterinary Border Control Posts

If you are importing from a third country, your consignment must enter the European Community through a Border Control Post (BCP) which is authorised to accept live fish.

Border Control Posts (BCPs) are European Union approved entry points for plants, animals, animal products, food etc. which originate from countries outside of the EU ("third countries").

Imports must be pre-notified to the BCP at least 24 hours prior to arrival through the creation of a Common Health Entry Document for Animals (CHED-A) on the European Union's TRACES NT system. Access to this system in Ireland is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.

The following BCPs on the island of Ireland are certified to accept live fish:

  • Ports: Dublin, Rosslare, Larne & Belfast
  • Airports: Dublin & Belfast International

Commonly used BCPs in continental Europe for imports of live ornamental fish are Frankfurt/Main, and occasionally Amsterdam Schiphol & Zurich Airports.

Lists of EU veterinary border control posts along with their contact details can be accessed here.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on ornamental imports