Importing Fish into Canada [GUIDE]

Frozen fish in various containers.

Fish and fish products imported into Canada are inspected to prevent unsafe, unwholesome or mislabelled products from getting to market. These goods require a Fish License or a Quality Management Program Import License.

Importers must apply for a license to inform the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the intention to import fish products.

It is important that importers familiarize themselves with the fish inspection requirements upon entry to Canada. Many import requirements may vary by commodity, therefore we suggest that an importer use the Automated Importer Reference System (AIRS) for reference.

Download and submit the application for a fish license from the CFIA website. Fees range from $500 to $5,000 and are payable to the Receiver General of Canada for a one-year license.

After form submission and fee remittance, it takes approximately 10 working days for CFIA to process the application and grant license.

Submit the following documents to your Customs Broker prior to the goods arriving at a port of entry for customs clearance with Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA):

  1. Canada Customs Commercial Invoice
  2. Copy of the Fish License
  3. Completed Fish Import Notification Form for each shipment

Your Customs Broker will then be able to fill out and remit all necessary paperwork for customs clearance to the CBSA. It is the importer’s responsibility to ensure that the CFIA receives the Fish Import Notification Form with the Customs Transaction Number in preparation for inspection. 

Prior to shipping to Canada, the importer must fulfill all CFIA requirements and must have arranged for the goods to arrive at a designated CFIA approved cold storage warehouse for inspection. After the goods clear customs, they travel in bond to cold storage warehousing facility where CFIA will inspect them, provided they receive the necessary forms. Failure to present goods for inspection or to submit all necessary forms will result in mandatory and immediate exportation.

After the CFIA inspection, the commodity may be transported or distributed within Canada.

Please consult CFIA for more information regarding your fish shipments.  All updates for the fish program are delivered electronically through CFIA's Email Notification Services. We recommended that you sign up for this service. To sign up, click here, and go under Email Notification Services - Food - Fish Inspection Manuals.


Stay Informed

Get the latest developments on US and Canadian customs, international trade topics and border updates that are specific to your importing or exporting needs.

Back to Farrow Library

The information contained throughout Farrow’s Website or via Social Media (for eg. webinar, white papers, articles or other communication) is for informational purposes only do not purport to be legal and/or professional advice or a definitive interpretation of any law. The information contained therein of a general nature and non-binding. No information published on the website or provided via social media constitutes professional or legal advice, a solicitation, an offer, or a recommendation to effect any transactions, or to conclude any legal act of any kind whatsoever. Farrow shall have no liability for the accuracy of the information in relation to any individual business operation and shall not be liable for any loss or damage of whatever nature which may arise as a result of the use of the information provided. Anyone contemplating action in respect of matters set out in this website or as a result of information communicated to you please contact your local Farrow representative for additional information or advice specific to your unique requirements.



Sign up to receive Industry news/information by email:

Sign Up Today!

Recent News

Honey Bees Pollinate Trade Opportunities

July 9, 2020

Read more

How can we help?

To discuss how our team can help your business achieve true results,


Canada's Best Managed

Farrow One of Canada's Best Managed Companies

Contact Us

Get in Touch

Russell A. Farrow Limited 2001 Huron Church Road Windsor, ON N9C 2L6, Canada (519) 966-3003