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Ornamental Aquatic Animals and Turtles

Ornamental Aquatic Animals# and Turtles*


To facilitate the industry to export ornamental aquatic animals# to some countries / places such as the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, Japan, etc. which require the animals to be accompanied with an official animal health certificate, this Department has launched  “Ornamental Aquatic Animals and Turtles Disease Surveillance Programme”.  Only the ornamental aquatic animal farm which complied with the criteria of facility and management can be recognized by this Department as a qualified exporter.

#Ornamental Aquatic Animals for export usually refers to fresh water species which include: fresh water tropical fish, goldfish, koi, ornamental shrimp and amphibian.

*Apply to the export of Turtles to the Mainland China only




Animal Health and Water Quality Inspection

To export ornamental aquatic animals to the USA or EU Members States, the health status of the fish and the water quality of the farm must be regularly inspected. This Department will further process the export certification for the farm only if it has passed all the required tests within the designated period. The following is a brief introduction of the testing requirements of the relevant countries: 

USA – The fish (including goldfish and koi) must be tested for Spring Vireamia of Carp (SVC) twice a year (with at least 3- month interval between tests). Subsequent tests must be carried out regularly and must be of passed results for at least two consecutive years.

For detailed import requirements, please refer to the web-site of the United States Department of Agriculture:  


EU Member states -The Annual Virological and Pathological Test must be carried out once a year, whereas the Half-yearly Virological Test must be carried out about 6 months after the completion of the Annual Virological and Pathological Test (the captioned two tests must be at least 3 months apart or carried out at the discretion of the veterinarian). Subsequent tests must be carried out at an appropriate interval. The results of Annual Virological and Pathological Test and Half-yearly Virological Test must be found satisfactory for two consecutive years.

For detailed import requirements, please refer to the web-site of the EU Member States: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/aquaculture/index_en.htm


Information about the Annual Virological and Pathological Test and Half-yearly Virological Test:      


Annual Virological and Pathological Test

Half-yearly Virological Test

Testing frequency


About 6 months after the completion of Annual Virological and Pathological Test


Aquatic animals: Goldfish, Koi, Fresh Water Tropical Fish, Crustaceans and their water sources (including aquarium water, supply water, packing water)

Aquatic animals: Goldfish, Koi, and Crustaceans 

Testing method

Virology (half-yearly) 
Pathological histology

Virology (half-yearly) 
Pathological histology (if necessary)




Pre-export Inspection

Qualified fish exporter must submit the application form and fee at least 10 working days in advance to book an appointment for fish inspection. Subject to the fish consignment is found satisfactory after inspection, the Veterinary Officer will issue an official health certificate for the aquatic animals.







 How to Apply

• An application must be submitted on the specified form (PDF format). Downloading of the forms for viewing and printing can be done through the use of the Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) Reader software which is available free at the Adobe Systems Incorporated website.
• Fees must be paid at the time of application. Fees are charged in accordance with the Fees Schedule.
• The issue of an official animal health certificate only applies to specific animals or countries / places. Health inspection on the animal must be made by a government veterinary officer before the issue.  
• Regarding the application for the issue of an animal health certificate, appointment must be made at least 10 working days prior to the expected date of inspection.

Processing Period for Official Animal Health Certificate

If all the veterinary health requirements stipulated by the destination country / place are met and the related documents are submitted, the processing period is two working days.


Where to Apply

Application must be submitted in person to:
Permit and Certification Section, Import and Export Division (Counter No. 9), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, 5th Floor, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Office Hours

Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 noon, 1:30 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Closed on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays.



  • Since different countries / places impose different restrictions on the importation of animals, applicants are strongly advised to first obtain details of the requirements from both the government authority of the destination country / place and from the airline or shipping company that will carry them. Please note that this Department may not always be able to certify all of the required details.
  • The period of validity of the animal health certificate will depend on the regulations of the destination country / place.

Note: If the animal species and their parts or derivatives to be exported are controlled under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, Cap. 586, the exporter must also apply appropriate CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) export permit from this Department.








Tel. : (852) - 1823
Email : icsenquiry@afcd.gov.hk

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