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Importing Non-Listed Aquatic Species

Tropical Fish in Aquarium

Please find some general information regarding the import of non-listed aquatic species below.

If you intend to import aquatic animals for ornamental purposes, please note that you must first register with the Marine Institute as an Ornamental Importer. This is a straightforward application which can be completed online. 

For more detailed information, please see our FAQs for Ornamental Importers.


What are listed & non-listed aquatic species?

The term 'listed species' refers to those which are considered to be susceptible to, or vectors of, the aquatic diseases covered under EU animal health legislation. The relevant pieces of EU legislation are: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1882, as amended; and Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/260, as amended, both of which can be found on  

A current summary document of the aquatic diseases covered in the legislation, their listed (susceptible/vector) species, and Ireland's health status for each disease can be downloaded here.

Non-listed species are those which are not named in the above EU regulations.


What countries can non-listed aquatic species be imported from?

Non-listed aquatic species can be imported from any country which is a member of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).


What is required when importing non-listed aquatics from within the EU?

Ornamental Importers, once registered, are not required to notify the Marine Institute when importing non-listed species from within the EU. 

In addition, no animal health certificate is required for imports of non-listed species from within the EU.

However, if a consignment transits through a 3rd country (such as Great Britain) on its way to Ireland, then a CHED-A is required in advance of its re-entry to the EU. It is also advisable that a commercial document (invoice, packing list etc.) accompanies the consignment. 

Further information can be found in our FAQs section or on our Certification Requirements page.


What is required when importing non-listed aquatics from outside the EU (third-country imports)?

Imports of non-listed aquatics from third countries to Ireland must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by the competent authority for aquatic animal health at the site of origin.

As there is no harmonised (EU standard) model certificate for the import of non-listed aquatic animals, it has been left to member states to set out their own requirements. As a result, the Marine Insitute have created our own template health certificate for the import of aquatic animals to Ireland from third countries. This can be downloaded from our Certification Requirements page (see Import Health Certificate for Non-Listed Aquatic Animals HCNLAIE). This includes some general health requirements in Part II and may be signed off by either an official veterinarian or an official inspector acting on behalf of the relevant competent authority at the site of origin.

Third countries may also use their own health certificate for these consignments, provided it fulfils the same general health requirements as laid down in the Marine Institute's template.

Alternatively, the harmonised EU health certificate (AQUA-INTRA-ESTAB/RELEASE/OTHER) may also be used, but this may only be signed off by an official veterinarian.   

If you are importing for commercial purposes (wholesale, culturing, retail etc.) you are also required to notify the Marine Institute in advance via our online application system using the login information provided at the time of your registration.


Who can certify consignments of non-listed aquatics from outside of the EU? 

If the consignment is travelling on a harmonised EU health certificate (AQUA-ENTRY-ESTAB/RELEASE/OTHER) then it must be signed off by an official veterinarian acting under the supervision of the competent authority in the country of origin.

However, if it is travelling on the Irish Health Certificate for Non-Listed Aquatics (HCNLAIE) then it may also be signed off by an official inspector from the competent authority in the country of origin. 


What general health requirements apply when importing non-listed aquatics?

The general health requirements when importing non-listed aquatics are listed below. All of these requirements are also contained in Part II of the Marine Institute's health certificate for the import of non-listed aquatic animals (HCNLAIE) which is available from our Certification Requirements page.

  • The aquatic animals originate from an establishment/habitat which is not subject to national restriction measures for animal health reasons or because of the occurrence of abnormal mortalities with an undetermined cause.
  • The aquatic animals are not intended to be killed under a national programme for the eradication of diseases.
  • The aquatic animals originate from a country which is a member of the OIE.
  • They have undergone clinical inspection by an official inspector within a period of 72 hours prior to the time of loading.
  • During the inspection, the aquatic animals showed no clinical symptoms of transmissible disease and, according to the relevant records of the aquaculture establishment, there was no indication of disease problems.
  • They have been dispatched directly from the establishment of origin to Ireland.
  • They are transported under conditions, including a water quality, that do not alter their health status, in a means of transport which is clean and disinfected or previously unused.
  • The consignment is identified by a legible and visible label on the exterior of the container which clearly links the consignment to this animal health certificate
  • The label contains at least the following information:
    • the number of containers in the consignment;
    • the name of the species present in each container;
    • the number of animals in each container for each of the species present;
    • the purpose for which the animals are intended.