United States of America – Export requirements for fish and seafood
- All fish and seafood products except those listed as ineligible
- Fish in the order Siluriformes ("catfish")
Pre-export approvals by the competent authority of the importing country
- Most fish and seafood product falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Please see the Notice to Industry – United States of America – Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) for more information regarding Canadian establishments exporting FDA regulated foods to the United States.
- Importation of certain fish by-products are also subject to requirements under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services.
- Fish and seafood exporting establishments must be federally licensed to export. A full listing of approved establishments can be found on the Canadian Establishments Approved List for Export.
- Exporting establishments that handle live and/or raw shellfish (fresh and frozen oysters, clams, mussels, whole or roe-on scallops), must be listed on the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL) and meet all applicable requirements.
Certification for the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL)
Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) licence holders wishing to be added to the ICSSL, to make amendments to a current listing, or to be removed from the list must submit the following information to their local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) office:
- full legal name as it appears on the Safe Food for Canadians licence
- facility address (street number, city, province, postal code)
- mailing address (if different than above)
- unique establishment identifier (licence holders ineligible to obtain a unique establishment identifier should submit their Safe Food for Canadians licence number)
- telephone number
- Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL) designation(s)
- Depuration Processor (DP)
- Repacker (RP)
- Reshipper (RS)
- Shucker-Packer (SP)
- Shellstock Shipper (SS)
- Wet Storage (WS)
- cancellation date (if applicable)
- reason for cancellation (if applicable)
- out of business
- other (please specify)
Effective December 1, 2019, licence holders conducting wet storage activities are required to indicate “WS” on the ICSSL in addition to any other applicable certification designation. Wet storage is defined as the temporary storage (less than 60 days) of live shellfish from approved sources, intended for marketing, in containers or floats in natural bodies of seawater or in tanks containing natural or synthetic seawater. Any applicable labels and tags must be updated with the new suffix.
An ICSSL listing for a SFCR licence holder must be renewed annually. The expiration date of Canadian licence holders on the ICSSL is November 30th of each year.
Further information on the types of ICSSL designations can be found in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) - Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish.
- For exports of live salmonids, or non-live, uneviscerated salmonids and parts thereof (including offal), please consult the CFIA's Aquatic Animal Health group.
- For information on instances where by-products require US import permits please visit the APHIS Entry Requirements – Amphibians, Fish, Reptiles, Shellfish, and Aquatic Species web page.
In the case of fish gelatin, destined to the US, for further processing and then further export to the EU from the US, the shipment should be exported to the US with a certificate of Origin and Hygiene CFIA/ACIA 5003, with the added statement (below):
"The animal products described are derived from aquatic animals and have been obtained and prepared without contact with other material which does not comply with the conditions required and it has been handled so as to avoid contamination with pathogenic agents. It consists only of the following animal by-products: Animal by-products from aquatic animals originating from establishments or plants manufacturing products for human consumption."
- The US requires prior notice to import, which includes providing information on all food for use, storage or distribution in the U.S.
- Prior notification also applies to gifts, trade samples, quality assurance / quality control samples, transhipped products and food for future export
- Food includes those articles intended for direct human or animal consumption and all ingredients or components of food intended for processing into food for consumption
- For fish and seafood falling under FDA regulation, prior notice must be received and confirmed electronically by the FDA no more than five days before arrival and no fewer than:
- two (2) hours before arrival by land by road
- four (4) hours before arrival by air, or by land by rail; or
- eight (8) hours before arrival by water
- To electronically submit prior notice information, please use the FDA Industry Systems interface accessible through the Prior Notice of Imported Foods web page
Production controls and inspection requirements
- If animal health or aquatic animal health statements, for example bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) related attestations, are written on any import permission documentation, the exporter should provide these documents to CFIA inspection staff for review. CFIA inspectors will in turn consult with Terrestrial Animal Health group or Aquatic Animal Health group as necessary.
United States Marine Mammal Protection Act
As requested by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the below notifications are provided to ensure Canadian exporters of fish and seafood products to the U.S. are aware of the list of restrictions on imports of seafood maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For details on the specific restrictions:
- Seafood Import Restrictions
- Implementation of Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act-Notification of Revocation of Comparability Findings and Implementation of Import Restrictions; Certification of Admissibility for Certain Fish Products From Mexico
If you have imported any of the items identified in the restrictions from the above links and you are planning on exporting any of those products to the U.S., you are asked to notify Fisheries and Oceans Canada at DFO.SP.ER.Trade-Commerce.RE.PS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
For requirements related to Product of Canada designation, please refer to Country of Origin Declaration – Imported Product Exported From Canada.
United States acts and regulations
- U.S. Code, Title 21 – Food and Drugs
- Chapter 9 – Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
- Chapter 12 – Meat Inspection (fish in the order Siluriformes)
- U.S. Code, Title 21 – Food and Drugs
- U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 – Food and Drugs
- U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9 – Animal and Animal By-Products (fish in the order Siluriformes)
United States official web pages
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Registration of Food Facilities
- National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP)
- FSMA Final Rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals
- Imported Seafood Safety Program
- FDA Industry Systems
- Prior Notice for Importing Food
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
- Entry Requirements – Amphibians, Fish, Reptiles, Shellfish, and Aquatic Species
- Animal Health Permits
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Fish in the order of Siluriformes ("catfish") and products derived from such fish are subject to different export requirements because they fall under the jurisdiction of the FSIS under the USDA.
- Country of Origin Labelling (COOL)
- Eligible Foreign Establishments
- FSIS Guidance for Importing Meat, Poultry and Egg Products into the United States
- Date modified: