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Import, Export and Transshipment of Ornamental Fish

Ornamental fish refers to the ornamental varieties of marine, brackish water or fresh water fishes, crustacea, aquatic mollusca, turtles, marine sponges, trepang and any other form of aquatic life and the young and eggs thereof. It excludes fish and fish products intended for human consumption.

AVA exercises a range of strategies to safeguard against the introduction and spread of fish diseases in Singapore, of which the regulation of the importation of animals into Singapore is a key strategy.

The import, export and transshipment of ornamental fish are regulated under the Animals & Birds Act, Animals and Birds (Live fish) rules.

License to import or export ornamental fish

A person or company who wishes to import, export or transship ornamental fish in Singapore must apply to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore for the Licence to Import or Export Ornamental Fish. The licence fee is S$350, and is renewable on an annual basis. The applicant must fulfil the following:
  1. Only Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents or Employment Pass Holders who are the managers of a business firms registered under the Business Registration Act or the Director of a company registered under the Company Registration Act may apply for the above licence.
  2. The applicant must obtain prior approval from the relevant authority  for the use of a premise intended for import, export or transshipment activities for ornamental fish prior to the licence application.
  3. The premise must have facilities for holding, packing and  quarantine of ornamental fish.
  4. Applicants who are self-employed must ensure that their Medisave contributions are up-to-date.

For the explanatory notes on the  licence application procedures, the terms and conditions for the licence, please click here.

For a copy of a basic guide on good management practices for ornamental fish import/export opremises, please click here.

The applicant must have read the explanatory notes before proceeding with the licence application. Please apply for and submit the licence through the online application for Licence to Import or Export Ornamental Fish. With effect from 1st Oct 2006, an application fee of S$21.50 applies for every new application.
The following supporting documents are also to be submitted with your online application:

  • Floor plan of the packing premises designated for import or export activity of ornamental fish
  • A copy of letter on Unique Entity Number (UEN) issued to your company by UEN Issuance agency
  • A copy of the tenancy/lease agreement of the premise (if applicable)  

The applicant must also submit the completed application form for Inter-bank GIRO (for a GIRO application form, click here) and send original hardcopy by mail to our office.


Import, export and transshipment permit

A permit approved by the AVA is required to accompany every consignment of ornamental fish imported, exported or transhipped. Application for an AVA permit requires the applicant to be a licensee for import or export of ornamental fish.

Please apply for an AVA permit by declaring the import or export through TradeNet. This could be done directly through registration with Singapore Customs/Crimson Logic or through a cargo/freight forwarding agent.

For the explanatory notes detailing the import/export guidelines, please click here.

The import of piranhas into Singapore is strictly prohibited and the import of genetically modified fish or transgenic fish requires a written approval from the AVA before importation. To import genetically modified organisms (GMOs), such as transgenic fish into Singapore for commercial release or research purposes, the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) will need to conduct a risk assessment based on its respective guidelines. AVA, on the advice of GMAC, will then determine if the fish can be safely imported.


For information on GMAC and its guidelines, i.e. the Singapore Guidelines on the Release of Agriculture-related GMOs and the Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on GMOs, please click here.

In addition, only fish species approved by the AVA for local sales may be imported for retailing.  You may still import fish species which are not approved for local sale, but these must be re-exported.


Health certificate requirements for import of ornamental fish into Singapore

From 15 July 2010, import health certification issued by competent authorities of exporting countries would be required for import of ornamental aquatic animals into Singapore. The requirement is applicable to ornamental species which are susceptible to the diseases: Spring viraemia of carp (SVC), Koi herpesvirus disease (KHV), Epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS), Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis (EHN), White spot disease (WSD) and Furunculosis (Aeromonas Salmonicida).

For marine ornamental fish imported into Singapore for re-export to Australia , the competent authority is also required to assure the disease status of the fish, and that they are wild-caught only, from areas at least 5 kilometres from any finfish aquaculture operation, and have not come into contact with water, equipment or fish associated with farmed food fish.

For the full details of the import health certificate requirements, please click here.

For clarification, please contact Mr Lester Lee (tel: +65 6751 9802) or Ms Rasyiqah Rosli (tel: +65 6751 9827).



Fish health certification for export of ornamental fish

AVA provides fish health certification services to exporters of ornamental fish to facilitate exports to countries requiring fish health certificates.

Exporters will need to have their fish consignments inspected before a fish health certificate is issued. A professional service fee will apply for the inspection.

Each fish health certificate costs S$16.80 and is valid for only 10 days from the date of issue.

Before application, the exporters should first check with the importing country for specific health certification requirements. Then he should submit his online application for Fish Health Certification for Export of Ornamental Fish with the relevant attachment giving details of the specific health certification requirements of the importing countries.  AVA would then arrange for an inspection of the consignment prior to approval of the health certificates. Alternatively, the exporter can consider joining the AVA Quality Assuarance Scheme, where the issuance of health certificates is based on the company's good management practice, and AVA's regular inspection of the premises.


Ornamental Fish Newsletter


If you have further enquiries

Please call the AVA Contact Centre via 6805 2992 or email us.

Alternatively, please visit our Contact Info page.

Last updated on 12 December 2014
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