Aquaculture animals from the EU

Scope / conditions

The import provisions apply to animals from aquaculture such as live fish and aquatic crustaceans and molluscs (including bivalve molluscs). They also apply to animals that were originally free-living if they are destined for an aquaculture establishment.

Animals from aquaculture must comply with the provisions of Directive 2006/88/EC.

Health certificate / TRACES

Neither a health certificate nor a TRACES notification are required to import aquaculture animals that are kept exclusively for decorative purposes in aquaria or closed garden ponds.

For shipments intended for breeding and restocking supplies (including rearing and fattening) the veterinary officer in the country of origin must send an electronic TRACES notification as stipulated in Regulation EC 1251/2008 to the Cantonal Veterinary Office in the country of destination.

The cantonal authority must record the establishment of destination in Switzerland in the TRACES electronic system before the first import takes place.

To date there are no zones, bodies of water or establishments in Switzerland with a recognised infection status. The form "1251/08 – 1266/88 Intra Trade Notification" should be used in the system for the TRACES notification of shipments that do not require a health certificate under the terms of Directive 2006/88 or Regulation EC 1251/2008.

Additional conditions

An import licence is not required to import animals from aquaculture that are kept solely for decorative purposes in aquaria or closed garden ponds and which are not listed in Annex 3 of the Ordinance of 24 November 1993 on the Federal Act on Fish and Fisheries (FFO).

Exceptions from this ban are only granted for edible crustaceans of the genus Cherax and, under certain circumstances, for zoos or research establishments. They require a licence. Specific provisions therefore apply to the import of animals from aquaculture (see "More information").

Import permit according to species conservation law

Imports of fish and crayfish belonging to the species listed in Annex 3 of the Ordinance of 24 November 1993 on the Federal Act on Fish and Fisheries (FFO) are prohibited.

Under the terms of Article 6 of the Federal Act of 21 June 1991 on Fish and Fisheries, FFO, a fishery import licence is required to import live fish, fish eggs, fish semen and freshwater crustaceans(unless Article 8 FFO provides for exemption from the requirement for a licence), as they are considered to be non-domestic or non-native (see "Import applications").

This import permit is (among others) not required to import aquaculture animals to be kept exclusively for decorative purposes in aquaria or closed garden ponds.

Overarching protective measures

The protective measures in force on the day of import apply in all cases.

Inspection on entry into the country

Please note that it is not possible to import all categories of animals and goods into Switzerland at all border crossing points. The customs authorities have full autonomy in determining the responsibilities of each customs post.

The competent cantonal authorities check the prescribed health certificates or commercial documentation as part of their control activities.

Owner’s licence

A cantonal owner licence is required for all fish that can grow to over 1 metre in length in their natural environment. The owner must apply to the Cantonal Veterinary Office for this licence.


Certain animal species are additionally subject to species conservation regulations. Please check the conservation status in the CITES species list (see "Further information") and select the corresponding category using the detailed query option.

Last modification 03.10.2016

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