To help our members keep up-to-date on what can – and more importantly – cannot be imported we have pulled together a number of resources to help you stay informed.

What can be imported?

In the EU corals, live rock*, clams and seahorses are all listed under Annex B of the Wildlife Trade Regulations. This means anyone importing specimens must have an Export Permit from the country of origin and an Import Permit from the relevant Authority in the EU member state to which they are imported.

But what can and cannot be imported changes fairly regularly so we would urge you to regularly check the sources outlined below to make sure you know the latest regulations around this issue.

It also helps to buy from reputable importers, such as fellow OATA members. If an offer seems too good to be true ask some questions and, at the very least, ask for the import number.

Importing into the UK?

You can find useful information here on the DEFRA website:

Sources to find out what can and cannot be imported

The trade in some species from some areas of the world is not permitted at all and this changes on a regular basis. To get the full list of what cannot be imported check the following two documents:

On this website you need to look at what’s called the ‘negative opinions’ spreadsheet at the bottom of the page

You should also check this document as well

A good overview

You can find a good overview of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations Legislation here

An important note to remember

Trade and ownership of specimens of any of these species which have been imported illegally anywhere in the EU remains illegal for all time. Even if a coral or clam dies the shell or skeleton remains illegal.

It is always possible for Customs to use business records (sales invoices etc.) to trace where such specimens have been sold.

To protect you and your business we advise anyone buying specimens of corals, live rock*, clams and seahorses to ask for an Import Permit number that is relevant to the specimens you have bought to check they have been legally imported.

* Live rock is defined as:

Coral rock(also live rock and substrate) – hard consolidated material, >3 cm in diameter, formed of fragments of dead coral and which may also contain cemented sand, coralline algae and other sedimentary rocks. ‘Live rock’ is the term given to pieces of coral rock to which are attached live specimens of invertebrate species and coralline algae not included in the CITES Appendices and which are transported moist, but not in water, in crates. ‘Substrate’ is the term given to pieces of coral rock to which are attached invertebrates (of species not included in the CITES Appendices) and which are transported in water like live corals. Coral rock is not identifiable to the level of genus but is recognizable to the level of order. The definition excludes specimens defined as dead coral.

If when you look at a piece of “live rock” you can tell from which genus of coral it was formed then by definition it cannot be live rock.