Importation of Ornamental Finfish

17 November 1999

Animal Quarantine Policy Memorandum 1999/77

Chief Veterinary Officers, all States and the NT CSIRO Division of Animal Health
Animal Programs Section, AQIS Operation National Farmers' Federation
Office of the Australian CVO, AFFA Quarantine and Animal Health Council
Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association Ltd Australian Animal Health Council
Australian Seafood Importers Association Australian Veterinary Association
Veterinary Counsellors, Washington, Brussels & Seoul Chief Veterinary Officer, MAF RA, NZ
Agricultural Counsellor, Tokyo National Meat Association of Australia
Australian Trout and Salmon Farmers Association Fisheries and Aquaculture Branch, AFFA
Wildlife Protection Section, Environment Australia Fisheries Research & Development Corporation
Australian Fisheries Management Authority Seafood Export Consultative Committee
Aquaculture Committee Australian Recreational & Sport Fishing Confederation
Division of Marine Research, CSIRO Aquaculture CRC Limited
Australian Seafood Industry Council Australian Prawn Famer's Association
Australian Institute of Marine Science Australian Aquaculture Forum
ACIAR Fisheries Coordinator Food and Beverage Importers Council
Pet Industries Joint Advisory Council WA Fishing Industry Council
Tuna Boat Owners Association Victorian Trout Association
Standing Committee on Fisheries & Aquaculture Freshwater Anglers' Council of Tasmania
Wildlife Australia, Environment Australia Health and Environment Committee
Fishing Industry and Community Organisations Aquatic Animal Disease Experts
Scientific and Research Organisations

Importation of Ornamental Finfish

This animal quarantine policy memorandum (AQPM) provides detailed conditions for the importation of freshwater and marine ornamental finfish from all countries in accordance with the policies announced in AQPM 1999/51 (19 July 1999).

Policies for the importation of freshwater and marine ornamental finfish are attached.

Implementation of new requirements will be staged to help facilitate their orderly introduction. From 1 December 1999 importers will require an import permit for marine ornamental finfish. This is an existing requirement for freshwater finfish.

All new requirements relating to overseas exporters and Competent Authorities of exporting countries will be implemented from 1 February 2000. These requirements include approval of marine ornamental finfish exporters and freshwater ornamental finfish export premises by the Competent Authority of the exporting country and that all shipments of ornamental finfish are accompanied by health certification issued by an approved Competent Authority.

From 1 May 2000, all importers must fully comply with new post-arrival quarantine requirements. These requirements include new standards for marine and freshwater ornamental finfish post-arrival quarantine detention.

Registration by AQIS will no longer be required for ornamental fish exporters. However, exporters will have to meet appropriate standards and be certified by the Competent Authority of the exporting country as meeting those standards. Exporting premises with an AQIS Certificate of Approval of Premises for Export of Live Freshwater Fish to Australia valid as of the date of this AQPM, will be permitted to export fish to Australia until 31 January 2000, after which date, the export premises must be approved by the respective Competent Authority as detailed in the attached conditions. 

The new conditions require health certification to accompany all shipments of imported goldfish, including a statement of freedom from specified disease agents.  Statements of freedom must ordinarily be based on a testing program that demonstrates absence of the disease agents in the source population over a period of at least two years. In order to facilitate trade in goldfish in the interim, AQIS will require that goldfish health certification from 1 February 2000 is based on the following testing regimens:

Period Testing requirement
1 February 2000 to 30 June 2000 None
1 July 2000 to 31 December 2000 1 batch of testing within 6 months of date of export
1 January 2001 to 30 June 2001 2 batches of testing (6 months apart) before date of export
1 July 2001 to 31 December 2001 3 batches of testing (6 months apart) before date of export

All health certification from 1 January 2002 must fully comply with testing as detailed in the attached conditions.

AQIS will recognise all Competent Authorities of countries currently exporting ornamental finfish to Australia as an interim measure. AQIS will undertake formal evaluation of Competent Authorities in due course. Guidelines for AQIS approval of overseas Competent Authorities are outlined in AQPM1999/62.

Further information may be obtained by contacting:

Animal Programs, GPO Box 858 Canberra ACT 2601.
Fax: (02) 6272 3110
Phone: (02) 6272 4453
E-mail: Animal Imports


Respondents are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1982, all submissions received in response to Animal Quarantine Policy Memoranda will be publicly available and may be listed or referred to in any papers or reports prepared on the subject matter of the Memoranda.

The Commonwealth reserves the right to reveal the identity of a respondent unless a request for anonymity accompanies the submission.  Where a request for anonymity does not accompany the submission the respondent will be taken to have consented to the disclosure of his or her identity for the purposes of Information Privacy Principle 11 of the Privacy Act.

The contents of the submission will not be treated as confidential unless they are marked ‘confidential’ and they are capable of being classified as such in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Sarah Kahn
Director, Fish Quarantine Policy Unit

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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