Importing animal furs, skins and fish

Restrictions on importing skin and fur products

Some skin and fur products may never be legally imported into the UK for commercial use.

Skins from harp and hooded seal pups

Commercial imports of baby harp seal and hooded seal skins - and items made from such skins - are prohibited.

Under European Union (EU) regulations, the placing on the market of all seal products is banned. 'Seal products' means all products, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or obtained from seals, including meat, oil, blubber, organs, raw fur skins and fur skins, tanned or dressed, including fur skins assembled in plates, crosses and similar forms, and articles made from fur skins. The ban also applies to imports that are declared for free circulation in the EU and intra-community trade.

You are also not permitted to trade in new products manufactured from existing stock of seal skin. Trade (including hire) in seal products first placed on the market before 20 August 2010 is not affected, however you are not permitted to trade in new products manufactured from existing stock of seal skin.

The EU regulations prohibit placing on the market products from seals and other pinnipeds (i.e. seals, sea lions and walruses) unless:

  • they result from traditional hunts conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities and contribute to their subsistence
  • are for personal use of travellers and their families and are of a non-commercial quantity
  • result from hunts regulated under national law with the sole purpose of sustainable management of marine resources and where the products are marketed on a non-profit basis

Where a consignment of seal products are being imported for release to free circulation and either the Inuit or management of marine resource exemptions applies, a seal catch attestation certificate is required to accompany the goods. The attestation certificate should be endorsed by the relevant certifying authorities in the country of origin.

Cat and dog fur and products containing such fur

Commission Regulation 1523/2207 bans the import, export and placing on the market of cat and dog fur, as well as products made from such sources.

The prohibition covers:

  • Felis silvestris (cat)
  • Canis lupus familiaris (dog)