Steps to importing fish bait and fish food

To import fish food, dietary supplements for fish, and fish bait, you'll need to meet certain regulatory requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

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What you need to know

An overview of importing fish bait and fish food from start to finish.


This import process covers fish food, dietary supplements and bait including:

  • food for aquarium fish and fish ponds
  • dried eggs of brine shrimps
  • the species Artemia salina and Artemia fransiscana 
  • dead blood worms and zooplankton
  • fish food for commercial aquaculture
  • marine fish used as fish bait.

Importing related products

Processes for importing related products are set out elsewhere on this website. Follow these steps if you're importing:

To successfully import fish food, dietary supplements, and fish bait you need to know about:

  • your product, what it contains, where it's from, who made it, and how it was made
  • the import health standard (IHS) and meeting itsrequirements
  • zoosanitary certificates and manufacturers' declarations, if needed
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) requirements
  • packaging and labelling requirements
  • New Zealand Customs Service requirements
  • relevant fees and charges.

Note that MPI and NZ Customs have different requirements.

Are you using wood packaging?

If your consignment is shipped to New Zealand on wooden pallets, or wood has been used to package any part of your consignment, you'll also need to comply with the requirements for importing wood packaging.

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Meet biosecurity requirements

Biosecurity requirements are detailed in documents called import health standards. The import health standard (IHS) for fish bait and fish food will tell you what you need to do to import your product. Read it thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all the requirements.

Download the IHS for importing fish food and fish bait from all countries [PDF, 198 KB]

Complete a zoosanitary certificate, if needed

You may need to have a zoosanitary certificate completed in the country of export. An example certificate is provided in the IHS.

You'll need a zoosanitary certificate if you're importing fish food that contains:

  • rendered ingredients
  • dead zooplankton
  • dead blood worms.

The specific requirements you need to meet for these products are outlined in the IHS.

Meet ACVM requirements for fish food

Fish food and dietary supplements for fish are classed as oral nutritional compounds (ONCs) under the ACVM Act. Many ACVM products have to be registered.

Normally, fish food and dietary supplements for fish are authorised under the ACVM Act by an 'exemption under regulations'. This allows you to import, manufacture, sell, or use the product without registration, if you:

  • comply with the exemption conditions
  • don't make claims that the product prevents or treats disease.

Exemption conditions are outlined in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 (entry 25 in Schedule 2).

Confirm your product is fit for purpose and safe

You must comply with requirements in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011. This includes making sure your product is 'fit for purpose' and all the ingredients are safe.

Imported feed commodities

You must also meet requirements in the ACVM (Imported Feed Commodities) Notice 2014. The notice includes:

  • general requirements for feed commodities
  • specific requirements for palm kernel expeller (PKE).

Download the Imported Feed Commodities: ACVM (Imported Feed Commodities) Notice 2014 [PDF, 264 KB]

Request a class determination, if needed

You may need to get a class determination letter from MPI confirming that your product is exempt from registration. A fee applies, and you'll need to give the letter to MPI border staff when your goods arrive. This is only needed if the product isn't obviously exempt, for example, if a label suggests the product has a therapeutic effect.

Get your product registered (if not exempt)

Products that don't meet the criteria for exemption must be registered with ACVM before they're imported. Note, registration may take several months.

Ask MPI if you're unsure

If you're uncertain about the status of your fish food, email

Prepare documents before your consignment arrives

Make sure you have all the required approvals and documentation before your goods arrive in New Zealand. Documentation issued by the exporting country may be in multiple languages, as long as one is English.

The documents you may need include:

  • the manufacturer's certificate, if applicable
  • treatment certificates, if applicable
  • zoosanitary certificate, if applicable
  • class determination letter, if required.

The IHS has more information about required documentation.

Comply with on-arrival inspections

Your items and documentation will be inspected by a quarantine officer when your products arrive in New Zealand.

Getting your import documents

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

Your product will be cleared for entry into New Zealand when you have:

  • completed all of the steps and met all of the import health standard (IHS) and Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act (ACVM) requirements
  • provided the zoosanitary certificate (if needed) and supporting documentation from the exporting country
  • had your products inspected and given clearance by an MPI quarantine inspector.

If your product doesn't comply on arrival

If your fish food, dietary supplements for fish, or fish bait arrive without meeting the IHS and ACVM requirements, they will be held at the port of arrival. If there is any doubt whether your product is authorised under the ACVM Act, it won't be cleared. Following assessment, the quarantine inspector will advise you to do one of the following:

  • treat the product
  • ship the product to another destination
  • destroy the product
  • ask for the product to be held until you can confirm it is authorised.

You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance.

If you need to confirm your product's ACVM status, email

Who to contact

If you have questions about:

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