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Bringing fish over the border (USA to Canada)

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  • Regular Member

Has anyone ever drove fish over the border? What was the process like? I'm finding a few breeders I'm interested in just a little ways from the border. I'd feel more comfortable seeing them and driving them myself rather than being shipped internationally (if that's even an option...).

Is there certain paperwork that needs to go with the fish? Any insight on this would be great!

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  • Regular Member

Hey! I'm not Canadian but my SO is so I've done so research on importing and exporting pets between the US and Canada. You should not have problems bringing goldfish across the border if they are intended to be your personal home aquarium pets. If you are only planning on purchasing a few individual fish I think everything will go smoothly. However, if you were to say purchase a large number of fish it may appear like you are planning to resell the fish or something and you might have some problems. You should check out this website for more detailed information:


After glancing at that page I found a list of conditions that must be met in order for you to import fish and I think you will likely meet all of the conditions. For example:

  • present proof of their identity and their ownership of the aquatic animal to the inspector at the point of entry into Canada
  • attest to the fact that the pet animal has not been taken to a show or display outside of Canada
  • keep the pet animal in their household aquarium
  • ensure the pet animal is not exposed to any aquatic animals other than those kept in the household, for one year following the importation
  • not import another pet aquatic animal as listed below for the period of 90 days after the importation
  • keep all records of the importation

So if you are purchasing from a breeder I would contact them ahead of time and make sure they will be able to give you some sort of paperwork/receipts for you purchase that indicate that you are the new owner of the fish and that they are of an approved species to be imported into Canada (which they are). Also, it seems that once you import fish you will not be able to import any more of them for 90 days so make sure you get everything you want in one trip! These laws are in place to prevent people from importing large numbers of animals into the country that they intend on reselling.


From the website:


"Anyone importing susceptible aquatic animals to be used as pets or for personal use does not require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit but should nevertheless make sure that they satisfy specific import criteria."


 So it seems as thought you will not require a permit to import them but you will have to fill out a small bit of paperwork. 

When you cross the border you will fill out an importation form and you may have to show the fish, paperwork, receipts, and your personal ID to the inspectors at the border crossing. 

Edited by xStatic
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