Canada's new aquatic import laws


Yeah, this is definitely going to make things interesting for importers. Shouldn't really affect hobbyists who are importing from the states, as I think another one of the criteria (though I don't see it listed) is you don't need a permit if the quantity of fish being brought in are less than six. Don't quote me on that, but I think I heard it from one of the U of G aquaculture guys.


Super Moderator
This came out of nowhere as far as I can tell. No consultations with people in the industry, no surveys. Someone in our local fish club is trying to get some answers and so far the responses are all very vague.


There was to be an information session on CFIA – SRD Aquatic Animal Import Requirements, earlier in the year, and i believe last year as well.

Reps from the CFIA, Both Paul MacIsaac and Andrea Osborn were there. SRD – FM reps Jim Wagner and Bev Larson were there as well. These people were for the meeting in alberta. Im not sure who did the east coast. I believe a meeting was held in every province though.

The agenda was to be as follows:

1. Import controls for aquatic animals under the Health of Animals Regulation
a. The amended regulations require anyone who wishes to import a susceptible aquatic animal to obtain a permit. The scope of aquatic animals requiring a permit is limited to those susceptible to the listed diseases that can be introduced or spread in Canada.
b. Schedule III, the Susceptible Species List, includes finfish, crustacean and mollusc species. This list of aquatic animal species that are susceptible to the reportable and immediately notifiable diseases will be reviewed regularly to determine whether the science behind the listing has changed.
c. Proposed process - Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) d. Importer expectations – information requirements, documentation, etc. e. Discussion of the proposed Import Permit conditions.

And then provincial specific discussions of:

1. New provincial requirements under the Fisheries Act
a. New species
b. Condition making authority
c. Fish Health Management Plans
d. Web-based Application form
e. Discussion of the proposed Import Licence conditions.

I was invited to the information session, and was asked to RVSP. The invite came from Robert Wright.

His information was coming from Louis McCann B.Sc. Executive Director of PIJAC Canada.

Louis's information was coming from Dr. Joanne Constantine. National Manager. Import/Export Section. Aquatic Animal Health Division. CFIA

Unfortunately, at the time, i over looked these emails and did not attend.

Anyways, hope that helps.
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Arowana blogger
Joey, you seem very well informed of the guidelines and well connected with those involved in drafting this new process; hopefully as the time approaches for these new regulations to come into effect you will be able to help us all better understand and navigate them. :)

Asian arowana should be fine in this whole process since they already fall under a well defined permit system.


Actually Theo, i was only extended the invite to attend the meetings, but did not attend. At the time of the invite, i was president of our local club. I think all club presidents registered with CAOAC were invited, but i'm not sure. The dates of the meetings conflicted with other things i had going on, and was not able to attend. I now realize how important the meeting was, and wish i would have coordinated my time line a little better.

All i have now is what is posted above. Discussion agenda and points of contact.


Super Moderator
I was going to ask how you came to be invited.

Now I'm going to go ask the president of our local club, which is registered with CAOAC, why this info wasn't provided to the membership.


I dont show him as being one of the names the email was forwarded to, but perhaps he was in the Bcc.

I wish i had kept all of the emails i had gotten during this time. The only thing i have left is the update on the meeting that was to take place in Toronto on March 11.


Arowana blogger
I have chatted with a few people about these new regulations and it is potentially quite serious; we could be looking at the same kind of nonsense that occurred with the fish food regulations last year that led to supply disruption for a bit with Hikari. I am sure there will be a way around the regulations. We may just need to cooperate regionally. People who own local fish stores will be the ones to really take the hit; they will now either have to set up full quarantines to care for their fish for weeks prior to selling them or else will be forced to go through wholesalers. Can you imagine how much their profit margin will be squeezed if they are unable to import direct?