CFIA Notice to the Fish and Seafood Industry – Export to the European Union (EU)


The European Union (EU) implements the European Commission Animal Health Act (AHL). This regulation updates its rules for the prevention and control of animal diseases transmissible to animals or humans. The new requirements apply to all global trading partners.

Effective January 15, 2022, exporters of commercial food and animal products destined for the European Union (EU) will be required to use updated export certificates, which contain new and more complex animal health requirements. Additionally, due to new EU requirements, pre-applications for export certification of each shipment prior to export will be required for live and fresh seafood departing to the EU on or after January 15, 2022.

Export certificates can be accessed through the Trade Control and New Technologies Expert System (TRACES NT), which serves as the EU’s electronic certification system. The updated export certificates are a result of the European Animal Health Legislation (AHL) which will come into force on January 15, 2022. Using the TRACES NT system for export certificates will provide a secure, convenient process and streamlined to do business with the EU.

Current export certificates will continue to be accepted by the EU until March 15, 2022, provided they are signed before January 15, 2022.

Additional information is available on the CFIA webpage titled Export of food and animal products to the European Union.

Deadlines for industry export requests:

Due to new and more complex export certification requirements for identified fish and seafood destined for human consumption, additional time is required to ensure that all export certification activities can be completed to allow the export certification in line with EU expectations.

Fish and seafood intended for human consumption

  • For the export of live aquatic animals and fresh fish and seafood products, a complete application for certification must be submitted at least three (3) business days prior to export.
  • For the export of all other fish and seafood products requiring export certification, a complete and detailed application for certification must be submitted at least five (5) business days prior to export.

Industry will continue to be able to export seven days a week, with some industry flexibility to adjust flight information and reduced volume in export shipping following official certification from the Government of Canada (CFIA). However, advanced planning to allow each request to be processed in accordance with EU requirements is essential to allow trade to continue.

To note: The time required until certification of any export is variable and depends on the specific verification required. The CFIA will strive to issue certificates within the above timelines 90% of the time. Incomplete applications for export certification will extend issuance times. It is recommended that industry submit their applications for export certification as soon as possible.

The table below outlines the concerns the CFIA heard at various industry meetings along with the CFIA’s response.

Industry concern CFIA Response
1 Increase in certificate volumes during holidays (mainly live exports) The CFIA will assess the resource request and adjust as needed to meet service standards and issue export certificates within three business days for live animal exports.
2 volume change after certificate request If the volume decreases, but the source, end use, and destination remain the same, no new certificate is required.
The exporter should work with the importer to adjust the information in TRACES.
3 Changing the export date after certificate request If a new export date is added after the date of signing and within 10 days of signing (in cases where no on-site inspection was required), no new certificate is required.
The exporter should work with the importer to adjust the information in TRACES.
4 Change of flight information/numbers after certificate request If the flight information changes, no new certificate is required. The exporter should work with the importer to adjust the information in TRACES.
5 Last minute orders received (less than 3 days before the export date) Industry should work with their importer to adjust their processes to increase order delivery time if necessary.
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