Trade with aquatic animals between countries and zones

There are specific rules that you must take into account when trading with aquatic animals. The rules differ depending on whether you are trading with EU Member States or countries outside the EU. There are also rules that apply to moving aquatic animals between zones in Sweden.

Movement of aquatic animals within the EU

Any time living animals are relocated, there is a risk of spreading diseases from one place to another. In order to reduce the risk of diseases spreading, there are rules that specify how animals are to be moved.

The following conditions always apply when relocating aquatic animals:

  • The animals must not exhibit any symptoms of disease.
  • The animals must come from an aquaculture establishment or an area where there has been no abnormal mortality without an established cause of death.

You may not move aquatic animals from a coastal zone in Sweden to a continental zone, as there are diseases along the coast which are not present in the continental zone. In some cases, you may move the animals even though it is prohibited, if you meet certain requirements relating to testing and quarantine before the animals are moved.

When moving aquatic animals, you must take appropriate measures to ensure that the health conditions at the destination site are not compromised. The animals must come from regis­tered or approved establishments, with the exception of wild aquatic animals. The exemption is applicable also those who keeps aquatic animals for ornamental purposes, provided that the species is neither listed nor covered by national measures and non-listed species of aquatic animals for ornamental purposes.

You may not use aquatic animals for purposes other than those for which they were intended after they have been moved. For example, if aquatic animals are moved for human consumption, you may not then use them for aquaculture or release them into the environment.

If you receive aquatic animals at your establishment, it is important that you examine the animals and the animal health certificate or self-declaration before the animals are unloaded. If you discover any abnormalities with the animals, such as increased mortality or other signs of illness, you must notify the Swedish Board of Agriculture. This also applies if the information on the animal health certificate or self-declaration is not correct.

If there are any deviations, you must keep the animals isolated until the Swedish Board of Agriculture has made a decision on how to proceed.

You always have a duty to notify if you suspect an infection.

Sometimes an animal health certificate or self-declaration will be required

When you are going to move aquatic animals from your farm in to or out of Sweden, you need an animal health certificate or a self‑declaration.

The health certificate must show that the animal meets the health requirements laid down in the rules on animal health and disease prevention in aquatic animals. The health certificate must be completed by an official veterinarian.

A self‑declaration is signed by the consignor.

In some cases, when an animal health certificate is not required, you must instead have a self-declaration.

Movements are notifiable

Relocations of aquatic animals between EU Member States must be registered in TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System), an EU database. If the relocation requires an animal health certificate, the registration in TRACES will be carried out by the official veterinarian. If you are dispatching a consignment which only requires a self-declaration, you can register it in TRACES yourself.

The transport must be marked

When sending a consignment with aquatic animals which require an animal health certificate, you must ensure that the transport vehicle or the container in which the aquatic animals are being transported can be identified with a legible label which shall

  • be placed in a position where it is visible
  • contain the information which is necessary to clearly link the consignment with the animal health certificate.

Sweden’s health status for aquatic animals

Some aquatic animals may be susceptible species to, or vector species of diseases.

Fish that are susceptible to diseases relating to which Sweden has a free status and has an eradication programme may only be brought in from other countries, zones or establishment groups which are also free of the disease in question.

At present, Sweden currently has a country-wide free status for the EU-listed diseases viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS), infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) and infectious salmon anaemia (ISA). Free status means that Sweden has measures to prevent the introduction of the diseases in question into the country as well as measures to combat and reduce the spread of infection in the event that the diseases are found.

In addition, Sweden and some other countries have national measures in place to manage certain diseases. National measures may be implemented for diseases which are not covered by EU regulations, but which are considered by the Member State to be of such a nature that the prevention of their introduction into the country is an important priority for the Member State.

At present, Sweden has national measures in place with a free status in the whole territory for spring viraemia of carp (SVC), and national measures with a free status in the continental zone as well as eradication programmes in the coastal zone for infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN), as well as national measures with an eradication programme for bacterial kidney disease (BKD) in the continental zone. This entails, among other things, additional requirements when importing species which are susceptible to these diseases.

Bringing in aquatic animals from countries outside the EU

You may only bring in listed species and products from aquaculture establishments from countries outside the EU which are approved for imports to the EU. This means that the country, or the parts of the country, from which the aquatic animals are coming must be included in annex XXI to the EU regulation 2021/404. Non-listed species may be brought in from countries outside the EU which are approved according to the aforementioned regulation, or which are members of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

  • When fish and other aquaculture animals, as well as products from these, are brought into Sweden from a country outside the EU, there must be an animal health certificate accompanying the consignment. The certificate shall show that the animals meet the health requirements imposed by the EU.
  • A notification of the transport must be made to the border control veterinarian at the border control post at the latest 1 business day in advance.
  • When the transport passes the border, you must notify the customs question of the import.

If you bring in species that are susceptible to SVC, IPN, or BKN to areas in Sweden which are listed in the annexes I and II of the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/260, you must either

  1. obtain the animals from a country, zone or compartment with free status for the relevant disease, or
  2. meet the national requirements that are set out in Chapter 3, sections 37-42 of the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s regulations 2021:13.

National provisions for the introduction of species susceptible to SVC, IPN and BKD

The national requirements when there is no free status in the country, zone or compartment from which the animals are obtained are as follows:

  • The animals must come from an establishment in the dispatching country where
  • the dispatching establishment has undergone at least two health inspections per year for the past two years
  • 30 fish per dispatching establishment have been tested at least once a year for SVC, IPN and BKD
  • the last sample for testing was taken within one and a half month prior to the import to Sweden
  • all test results according to points 2 and 3 were negative
    The regulation sets out how the tests and diagnostics shall be carried out.
  • Incoming water to the establishment in the country of dispatch from which the animals are coming shall, either naturally or by treatment, be free of any contamination transmissible to aquatic animals.
  • The animals may not have been vaccinated against the disease.
  • There shall be natural or artificial barriers against adjacent watercourses which prevent aquatic animals from entering or leaving the dispatching establishment. There must also be measures in place to protect against flooding or the leakage of water from nearby watercourses into the establishment.
  • You shall also have a document accompanying the consignment showing that the above requirements are met.

Bringing aquatic animals to countries outside the EU

This section describes what rules apply when you are exporting to countries outside the EU.

If the animals are going to Norway, Andorra or the Faroe Islands, the same rules apply as when exporting animals to another EU Member State.

Find out if there are any export restrictions

Before you export animals to countries outside the EU, you need to find out whether there are export restrictions due to infectious animal diseases.

Find out what the rules are in the destination country

In order to export or bring animals to a country outside the EU (other than Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Andorra, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Liechtenstein, Monaco or San Marino), you need to find out which requirements apply in the destination country. Contact the embassy or the veterinary authorities of the destination country well in advance in order to find out:

  • Whether it is possible to travel with the animals or export them to the destination country
  • Which rules apply in the country to which the animals are travelling
  • Whether you need to apply for anything in particular, e.g. an import licence
  • Whether the animals must be quarantined or vaccinated before being transported
  • Which health certificates are required, or which requirements must be met
  • Whether any particular permit is required

Obtain a health certificate

Contact an official veterinarian well in advance to ascertain whether there is any negotiated health certificate which is valid in the country to which you are travelling or selling your animals. If there is a negotiated certificate it should be used.

If there is no negotiated certificate, you should contact the authorities in the destination country and find out which certificates they accept or what requirements must be met. If they only accept their own country's certificate, make sure your official veterinarian gets it well in advance. Never use a previously saved certificate without checking with the receiving country that the certificate is still valid and it is the latest version.

If you have only been informed about the requirements that must be met in order to be allowed to export to the country, it is you as the exporter who must write the certificate and insert the current requirements, as well as verify in writing with the recipient country that the final version is approved.

You must then give the information and the certificate to your official veterinarian in writing well in advance of the planned export.

The Swedish Board of Agriculture’s logo must not be used for a non-negotiated certificate.

The official veterinarian can always refuse to sign a health certificate if the requirements of the certificate are not met or if it is written in a language that the official veterinarian does not understand.

Please note that when a non-negotiated or general certificate is used, the export takes place at the exporter's own risk. Neither the Swedish Board of Agriculture nor the official veterinarian can provide any guarantees that the certificate will be accepted.

If applicable, submit an export application

If your export of animals must be negotiated with the authorities in the destination countries, you should submit an export application using our e-service. Once the export application has been received, negotiations with the destination country will be managed by the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Keep in mind that negotiations may take a long time (usually several years) to complete. It is not a solution for a one-time export.

The export application is primarily aimed at those who intend to export large quantities and frequently. Note that received export applications are prioritized by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Find out if there are any export restrictions

Before you travel with animals or export them to countries outside the EU, you need to find out if any export restrictions apply due to contagious animal diseases.

Find out what rules apply for the transport

It is also important that you find out what rules and requirements apply to the transport.

Submit a customs declaration

If you sell animals to a country outside the EU, you must submit an electronic customs declaration to the Swedish Customs.

If the animals are returning to Sweden later

If you are bringing back animals that you have previously travelled with or exported to a country outside the EU, you need to find out what rules apply.

Contact us if you have questions

You are welcome to send us an e-mail if you have any questions.

New rules for bringing animals or animal products to the United Kingdom

Here, you can find out what rules apply when you are bringing animals or animal products to the United Kingdom, but you must also read the general rules that apply when exporting to countries outside the EU.

As of 1 January 2021, new rules apply to trade with the United Kingdom. The ministry responsible for these rules is the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). If you have any questions, please contact them.

The rules are described in the guide Border Operating Model.

The UK is implementing the new rules in several phases throughout 2021 and 2022. The conditions for exports to the United Kingdom may change, and it is therefore important that anyone carrying out exports stays up-to-date via the DEFRA’s website.

What you need to do as an exporter

Companies that are exporting to the UK need to, among other things:

  • In collaboration with the importer, find out which certificates should accompany the consignment.
  • Ensure that you have access to the web-based system TRACES.NT in order to record the details required for the certificate.
  • Check that the dispatching establishment is registered or approved, and that the transporter meets applicable requirements.
  • If the transport to the UK will pass through other EU Member States, you must also check what applies when exporting to other EU Member States.
  • Contact an official veterinarian in good time!

Health certificates and pre-registration

The importer to the UK should pre-register live animals, breeding materials and products from animals from the EU with the UK system Import of Products, Animals, Feed and Food Systems (IPAFFS). This must be done at the latest one business day prior to the expected arrival. A health certificate must always accompany the consignment. Physical controls may be carried out.

The health certificate has been developed by UK authorities and is available in the EU computer system TRACES.NT or on DEFRA’s website. It is your responsibility as an exporter to find out which certificate must be used, and for that reason it is important that you, potentially with the help of the importer, find out what is required by checking DEFRA’s website. You can also read more on their website about how the various parts of the certificate are filled in and which information is mandatory, and which is optional.

This applies to exports to the United Kingdom:

  1. The importer must register the consignment in the UK through the IPAFFS computer system
  2. The consignment will receive a unique notification number (UNN) in IPAFFS, which has the format IMP.GB.2021.1XXXXXX.
  3. A health certificate issued by an official veterinarian in Sweden must always accompany the consignment.
  4. The importer in the UK must provide the UNN number to the exporter or to the official veterinarian in Sweden, who will record the number in the health certificate.
  5. The exporter must provide the importer with an electronic copy of the health certificate so that it can be uploaded to IPAFFS.
  6. The exporter is responsible for ensuring that the original health certificate accompanies the consignment.

Prohibition against bringing live crayfish into Sweden

You may not bring live crayfish into Sweden. This is another measure taken to protect the broad-fingered crayfish and prevent the spread of infectious disease. If you buy live crayfish, for example in order to re-stock lakes, you should verify that the crayfish really are from Sweden, and that you have the permission of your county administrative board.

Releasing aquatic animals

Aquatic animals may be released into lakes and watercourses for the purposes of

  • preserving and supporting stocks of endangered species
  • re-introducing species which have disappeared from the area
  • compensating for the loss of natural salmonids in watercourses through hydropower development
  • improving fishing.

The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management is responsible for the rules regarding releases.

Questions and answers

What is a listed species?

Listed species are those species or groups of species which are susceptible or vector species for certain diseases as listed in the EU Animal Health Law. To find out if the species you have are listed, see the table in the Annex to EU Regulation 2018/1882, which from 5 July 2022 was amended by EU Regulation 2022/925.

The species are listed in columns 3 and 4 of the table.

Species of aquatic animals are listed at the end of the table. You can also use the search function (press Ctrl+F) and type the name of a species to find out if it is in the table.

Revision date: 2023-03-06

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