In order to export animals or animal products outside the EU, the destination country will frequently require guarantees that the product complies with their sanitary (public health) and animal health rules. One means of assurance often used is the Export Health Certificate (EHC). This document, which accompanies the goods, is usually signed by a veterinarian acting on behalf of the Government. The EHC makes various assurances about the consignment and reflects the import requirements of the importing country at the time the certificate was agreed with them.
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) Specialist Service Centre for Exports in Carlisle is responsible for providing export health certificates where these exist. AHVLA works on behalf of the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish and Welsh Governments.
Where a certificate is not already in existence, they will have to be negotiated by Defra with the importing country. However, these negotiations are lengthy.
With regards to China and exporting fish for human consumption, we currently have three EHCs to cover exports of (i) non-live fishery products, (ii) live bi-valve molluscs and (iii) live aquatic animals (excluding molluscs).
AHVLA will be able to advise on the use of these certificates and you should contact them direct: Hadrian House, Wavell Drive, Carlisle, CA1 2TB, Telephone: 01228 403600, Email: CentralOps.Carlisle@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk.
If you are referring to exporting live fish for the purposes of pets or for propagation, there are no certification arrangements in place. You would need to approach an importer or UKTI in China (or Claire Urry above) to find out what conditions would apply.
Because import conditions can change, EHC can become out of date, so exporters are always advised to check with their importers or the authorities in the importing country first.