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

The European Union (EU) is implementing the European Commission Animal Health Law (AHL). These regulations update their rules for the prevention and control of animal diseases which are transmissible to animals or to humans. The new requirements apply to all global trading partners.

Effective January 15, 2022, exporters for commercial food and animal commodities destined for the European Union (EU) will be required to use updated export certificates, which contain new and more complex animal health requirements. In addition, as a result of the new EU requirements, advanced requests for export certification of each shipment prior to export will be required for live and fresh seafood leaving for the EU on, and after, January 15, 2022.

Export certificates can be accessed through the Trade Control and Expert System New Technology (TRACES NT), which serves as the EU’s e-certification system. The updated export certificates are the result of the EU Animal Health Law (AHL) that will come into force on January 15, 2022. Using the TRACES NT system for export certificates will provide a secure, convenient, and streamlined process for doing 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.

Timelines for Industry Export Requests:

Due to the new and more complex export certification requirements for identified fish and seafood for human consumption, additional timelines are required to ensure all export certification activities can be completed in order to enable export certification in alignment with EU expectations.

Fish and Seafood for human consumption

  • For the export of live aquatic animals, and fresh fish and seafood products, a complete request for certification to be submitted a minimum of three (3) business days prior to export.
  • For the export of all other fish and seafood products requiring export certification, a fully complete and comprehensive request for certification to be submitted a minimum of 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 within the export shipment following official Government of Canada (CFIA) certification. However advanced planning in order to enable processing of each request in alignment with the EU requirements is essential to allow the continuation of trade.

Note: The time required until certification of any export is variable and depends on the specific verification required. The CFIA will endeavor to issue the certificates within the above timelines 90% of the time. Incomplete requests for export certification will extend timelines for issuance. It is recommended that industry submits their requests for export certification as early as possible.

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

Industry ConcernCFIA Response
1Increase in certificate volumes over holidays (primarily live exports)CFIA will assess resource demand and adjust as required to respect service standards and issue export certificates within three business days for live exports.
2Change in Volume after Certificate RequestIf volume decreases, but the source, end use and destination remains identical, no new Certificate is required.
Exporter to work with importer to adjust info in TRACES.
3Change in Export Date after Certificate RequestIf new export date is added after signing date and within 10 days of signature (in cases where no on-site inspection was required), no new Certificate is required.
Exporter to work with importer to adjust info in TRACES.
4Change in Flight Information/Number after Certificate RequestIf flight information changes, no new Certificate is required. Exporter to work with importer to adjust info in TRACES.
5Last Minute Orders received (less than 3 days before export date)Industry to work with their importer to adjust their processes to increase lead time on orders if required.