Aquatic Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 5.9. SECTION 5. Chapter 5.11.

Chapter 5.10.

Measures concerning international transport of aquatic animal pathogens and pathological material

Article 5.10.1.


There is the risk that disease may occur as a result of the accidental release of aquatic animal pathogens during international transport of packaged materials. Such pathogens may already occur in the country or they may have been imported deliberately or inadvertently. It is therefore necessary to have in place measures to prevent their accidental release. These measures may be applied at national borders by prohibiting or controlling the importation of specified aquatic animal pathogens or pathological material, which may contain them.

Competent Authorities should not require sanitary measures for biological samples preserved for diagnostic applications that are treated in such a manner as to inactivate the pathogenic agent.

Article 5.10.2.

Importation of aquatic animal pathogens

The importation of a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code, whether in culture, in pathological material or in any other form, should be officially controlled by the Competent Authority to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to manage the risk posed by the pathogen. The conditions should be appropriate to the risk posed by the pathogen and, in relation to air transport, the appropriate standards of the International Air Transport Association or other relevant transport associations concerning the packaging and transport of dangerous goods as outlined in Article 5.10.3. should apply.

When considering applications to import a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code, whether in culture, in pathological material or in any other form, from other countries, Competent Authorities should have regard to the nature of the material, the animal from which it is derived, the susceptibility of that animal to various diseases and the animal health situation of the country of origin. It may be advisable to require that material be pretreated before import to minimise the risk of inadvertent introduction of a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code.

Any material that does not satisfy the applied conditions should be rendered safe by the Aquatic Animal Health Service of the receiving country.

Article 5.10.3.

Packaging and documentation for transport

The safe transport of a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code, with respect to the pathogen, the handlers and the environment, is primarily dependent on proper packaging and it is the responsibility of the sender that this is done in accordance with current regulations.

  1. Basic triple packaging system

    The system consists of three layers as follows:

    1. Primary receptacle: a labelled primary watertight, leak-proof receptacle containing the specimen. The receptacle is wrapped in enough absorbent material to absorb all fluid in case of breakage.

    2. Secondary receptacle: a second durable, watertight, leak-proof receptacle to enclose and protect the primary receptacle(s). Several wrapped primary receptacles may be placed in one secondary receptacle. Sufficient additional absorbent material must be used to cushion multiple primary receptacles.

    3. Outer shipping package: the secondary receptacle is placed in an outer shipping package, which protects it and its contents from outside influences such as physical damage, temperature fluctuations and water while in transit.

    Ice or dry ice when used in a shipment must be placed outside the secondary receptacle. If wet ice is used, it should be in a leak-proof container and the outer package must also be leak-proof. The secondary receptacle must be secured within the outer package to prevent damage after the refrigerant has melted or dissipated.

    Dry ice must NOT be placed inside the primary or secondary receptacle because of the risk of explosions. The outer package must permit the release of carbon dioxide gas if dry ice is used. IATA Packing Instruction 904 must be observed for packages containing dry ice.

  2. Documentation

    Specimen data forms, letters and other types of information that identify or describe the specimen and also identify the shipper and receiver should be taped to the outside of the secondary receptacle, together with a copy of the recipient's import permit.

Article 5.10.4.

Any sender of a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code or pathological material must ensure that the proposed receiver has obtained the necessary import licence referred to in Article 5.10.2.

Article 5.10.5.

  1. Every consignment of a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code or pathological material should be notified in advance by the sender to the intended recipient, giving the following information:

    1. exact nature of the sample and its packaging;

    2. the number of packages sent and the marks and numbers enabling their identification;

    3. date of despatch;

    4. method of transport used for consignment of products (ship, aircraft, railway wagon or road vehicle).

  2. The recipient should notify the sender of the receipt of each consignment of a pathogen referred to in the Aquatic Code or pathological material on its arrival.

  3. When a consignment that has been notified by the sender fails to arrive by the anticipated date, the intended recipient should notify the Competent Authority of the receiving country and, at the same time, the sender in the country of origin, so that any necessary action can be taken for investigation to be made without delay.


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Contents | Index Chapter 5.9. Chapter 5.11.