Salt & Freshwater Organisms

New Zealanders highly value their unique waterways and marine environments. To ensure these are protected for the enjoyment of future generations of New Zealanders and travellers alike, there are certain restricted items, including seafood and shells, which you must declare when you arrive at the border.

If you are travelling to New Zealand and intend bringing salt or fresh water organisms or products, or if you are entering by sea, it is essential you are aware that:

  • Many items brought into New Zealand, including food seafood products, must meet certain requirements, known as Import Health Standards, to protect New Zealand's unique natural environment from pests and diseases.
  • If you wish to commercially import fresh or saltwater organisms (and these may include foodstuffs, or aquarium products and organisms) please take note of the relevant standards and regulations.
  • If you are entering New Zealand by private vessel there are arrival requirements, regulations for dealing with ballast water (if relevant) and recommendations on vessel cleaning and antifouling to ensure you are not carrying marine pests as bio-fouling.
  • There are also standards and regulations for commercial vessels entering New Zealand waters.
  • Your compliance with these required actions will help protect New Zealand's economy and natural resources from harmful imported aquatic pests and diseases. Many of the actions are legal requirements and there are serious penalties for failing to declare restricted items, or for making a false declaration.

Page last updated: 3 May 2011