ornamental fish import license guidelines
Import Export Guidelines & Registrations

Ultimate Guidelines to Import Ornamental Fishes in India

live ornamental fish in the aquarium
Photo by J Cruikshank on Unsplash

“How to import Ornamental fishes in India?” If you are looking for the answers to this question, you are at the right place. We will explain everything you need to know to import live ornamental fishes in India. You can import aquarium fishes to trade domestically or export after breeding better varieties.

Indian import of live fishes was 2860.5 million USD in 2019, and it shrunk to 435.14 Million USD in 2020 due to covid. Year on year, the import of Fish in India grew by 45.93% from 2014 to 2018. (Source: connect2india.com)

A lucrative export market and high domestic demand had made the Ornamental fish industry a potential source of income generation in India. The fish import business is on the rise as the Domestic trade is getting traction and attracting more and more hobbyists. The ornamental fish trade has vast opportunities, low investment, and less water requirements.

As per a researchgate.net publication, aquarium fish domestic trade is worth about ₹555 crores with the potential of ₹5000 crores. Indian domestic business of ornamental fish is growing at 20% annually, and demand at the domestic level is higher than the supply.

The live fish export also has vast opportunities for Indian Ornamental Entrepreneurs. The ornamental fish trade is a multibillion-dollar industry in which approximately more than 125 countries are involved in the trade. The global Ornamental fish trade is estimated to be more than US$ 15 billion, and more than 2 billion live ornamental fishes are traded. Singapore is on the top in exporting live fish to the world with a share of 15% approx.

Indian contribution to the global export is merely 1% approx, and this serves as an opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs. Because most Union States’ agro-climatic condition is suitable for ornamental fish breeding and culture, however, these activities are concerned to a few states, especially West Bengal (55%), Tamil Nadu (35%), Kerala (5%) North East States (7%), and Maharashtra (3%).

Now, look at the main documents you need before placing the order to import ornamental fish from any country like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

Documents Required to Import Ornamental Fishes in India

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF), Ministry of Agriculture has formulated guidelines to import ornamental fishes into India in consultation with the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA).

As per the guidelines, the import of live fishes is under the restricted category, and one intended to import must have an Import permit or Import license for Ornamental fishes issued by DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade).

Documents Required to get Import License for Ornamental Fishes

First of all, you need an Import Export Code certificate. An IEC is a key certificate you must have to perform an import or export business in India. Import-export code certificate is issued by DGFT, Ministry of Commerce & Trade. IEC will be valid for the lifetime. At firstbusiness, we can help you obtain IEC within a few hours.

Import export code certificate sample

Import Export Code certificate sample

Documents required for Import Export Code (Proprietorship)

  • Aadhar card copy (Identity Proof)
  • Pan card copy
  • Passport size photo or selfie
  • Cancelled cheque
  • Address of the Business
  • Email address and mobile number

For more details about IEC, click here.

After obtaining Import Export Code, you need a Digital Signature Certificate. The digital signature is required to digitally sign your application and verify your IEC certificate at the time of application submission on DGFT Portal. DSC validity range from 1 to 3 years. It’ll take an hour to get DSC ready.

Documents required for Digital Signature Certificate (Individual Firm)

  • Aadhar card copy
  • Pan card copy
  • Passport size photo or selfie
  • Email address and mobile number

We can help you get DSC within an hour. Check more about Digital signature by clicking here.

Now, you get IE code and Digital signature ready with you. It is time to prepare your list of species you want to import along with their respective quantities. The import license will be valid for 18 months, so estimate your import requirements as per that.

An Indicative list was issued by The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries (DAHDF). There are 92 varieties which include Marine and Freshwater species.

The Department of Fisheries is currently responsible for guidelines, schemes and policies regarding the fisheries sector. The Department of Fisheries came into existence with effect from 05.02.2019 through carving out Fishery Division from the erstwhile Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries vide Cabinet Secretariat’s Notification.

List of Ornamental fish allowed to Import in India — Firstbusiness.in

Although there are thousands of varieties, only those mentioned in the above list can be imported into India. The names mentioned in the list have broad family varieties that you can import under the main allowed head.

For example: In Discus fish, they allowed Discus and Blue discus only but, you can import Red Discuss, Green Discus, Heckel Cross Discus, Ghost Discus, White Butterfly Discus, Gold Discus, etc. under Discus.

six varieties of discus fish
 Discus Fish Varieties

Once you get the species list ready with their quantities, you can fill-up the form ANF-2M to submit in your regional DGFT. You’ll also have to share the original photographs of the species you mentioned in your list to submit the papers.

List of Documents to Submit in the DGFT for Import Permit

  • Import-export code certificate
  • Form ANF-2M with fish names, their respective quantities, CIF (Cost Insurance and Freight) value, and ITC (HS) Code
  • Form ANF 1
  • Fish Details in Annexure-II
  • Original Photographs

After submitting the papers in the regional DGFT, the application will be forwarded to the Central DGFT in Delhi. It will be further reviewed by the Ministry of Fisheries and a couple of Trade cells. If the Ministry and trade cells find everything as per the guidelines, they will approve the application, and if not, they will reject it.

All the applications for Import licenses for ornamental fish go through a rigorous screening process, and the evaluating remarks are then forwarded to the DGFT. Application on behalf of comments from different Ministries and cells would be approved or rejected in Exim Facilitation Committee.

The DGFT office formed Exim Facilitation Committee to review the import authorization of restricted items. The committee consists of Technical authorities and Depts/Ministries concerned. This committee reviews the remarks shared by the Ministry of Fisheries and trade cells and takes the final call to approve or reject the import license application for ornamental fishes. This committee also reviews applications for other restricted items like rubber scrap, defence equipments, animals for research, etc.

Firstbusiness can help you in obtaining an Ornamental fish import license. We have links and professional relationships with officers in DGFT and in the concerned ministries. Being based in Delhi NCR, it is convenient for us to follow up with them by visiting DGFT and Krishi Bhawan personally. Leave all the hassle of paperwork, documents submission, follow-up, and approval on us. We will assist you from beginning to end to get this import permit to import ornamental fishes. Contact us now on 8700801681.

Once approved, you’ll get approval confirmation through email, and a copy of the license along with a few other papers will be sent to your business address. The license will be valid for 18 months. It’ll get expire after 18 months or after you utilize the license value completely. License value is the total value you have mentioned in the form ANF 2M. It usually takes 2 months to get the license in hand.

Now you need Animal Quarantine Certificate before you can start the import of live fishes.

India has an Animal Quarantine office in six states currently, including — Delhi, Maharashtra (Mumbai), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), West Bengal (Kolkata), Karnataka (Bangalore), and Telangana (Hyderabad). You can submit an application with a copy of your import license requesting them to grant you a Quarantine Certificate. The application can be submitted manually in the office or sent via email. An officer or a team of officers (max 2–3) from the Animal Quarantine office will visit your business place to inspect the facilities and ensure that the site has all the amenities required for a healthy environment for ornamental fishes.

If you are not in the Union state where the Animal Quarantine office is present, you’ll have to request the DGFT office for the Quarantine certificate. The DGFT will arrange a team to inspect your place and then grant you Quarantine Certificate.

After the satisfactory inspection of your premises for containing ornamental fishes after import, you’ll be granted a Quarantine Certificate. This Quarantine certificate will be valid for 3 years.

Contact us if you want to know the exact facilities you should have at your place to get approval for Quarantine Certificate.

In the meanwhile of this process, you can shortlist your supplier from anywhere in the world. After you get all these documents in your hand, you can place the order for fishes.

You can pay the Custom Clearing Agent to get your consignment clear from the custom or can go there yourself to present all the documents in front of the customs officer.

Let’s sum up all these details, in short, to make it easier for you to read the Ornamental fish import process.

You need the following documents to Import Ornamental fish in India-

  • Import Export Code Certificate
  • Live Fish Import License from DGFT
  • Animal Quarantine Certificate

Import-export code (IEC) can be obtained from DGFT, or you can contact us for an IEC certificate approval within a day.

Live Fish Import License is issued by Central DGFT, Delhi. You need to submit details through ANF 2M, ANF 1, & Fish details in Annexure-II with IEC and actual photographs. You can submit details online or physically in DGFT. Import license will be valid for 18 months, after which you’ll have to take the new license.

Animal Quarantine Certificate is issued by AQCS (Animal Quarantine and Certification Services). A team from AQCS will visit your place of business, where you’ll keep the imported fishes to check if the site has amenities required for their favourable environment. The Animal Quarantine certificate will be valid for 3 years.

Once you get all these three certificates, you can start importing live fishes in India from anywhere in the world. This is how you can import ornamental fish from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Srilanka, etc.

Quite a process, Right! Either take all the load yourself and invest your precious time and energy in getting documents ready as per guidelines and without any error or partner us. No, not asking for a share in the business but asking to be your growth partner. Get in touch with us today to get your restricted item import license.

Contact us for:

  • Quick Documentation
  • Fast approval of the application
  • Immediate dispatch and delivery of Import license using our links in DGFT
  • Assistance in setting up Quarantine Facility
  • Assistance in gertting Animal Quarantine Certificate

Cheers for your new journey and Best wishes for your success!

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