Regulations relating to alien organisms

Adopted by Royal Decree of 19 June 2015 under sections 2, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 66 of the Act of 19 June 2009 No. 100 relating to the management of biological, geological and landscape diversity (the Nature Diversity Act), section 7 of the Act of 29 May 1981 No. 38 relating to wildlife and wildlife habitats (the Wildlife Act) and section 2 of the Act of 27 February 1930 relating to Jan Mayen. Submitted by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Appendices to the regulations

Chapter I. Purpose, scope and definitions

Section 1. Purpose

The purpose of these regulations is to prevent the import, release and spread of alien organisms that have or may have adverse impacts on biological or landscape diversity.

Section 2. Geographical scope

These regulations apply to Norwegian land territory, including river systems, Norwegian territorial waters and Jan Mayen. The regulations do not apply to Svalbard.

Section 3. Substantive scope

(1) These regulations govern the import of organisms, the placing on the market and release of alien organisms, and the unintentional spread of alien organisms.

(2) The regulations do not apply to: 

  1. any releases governed by the Regulations of 25 May 2012 No. 460 relating to the planting or sowing of foreign tree species for forestry purposes;
  2. any release of Norwegian tree species, see section 31 of the Nature Diversity Act;
  3. ballast water management governed by the Regulations of 7 July 2009 No. 992 relating to prevention of the spread of alien organisms via ships’ ballast water and sediments;
  4. any keeping of wildlife in captivity or release of wildlife into enclosed areas governed by section 7 of the Wildlife Act, except for keeping as defined in section 13;
  5. the return to the sea of wild living marine resources that are exempted from the duty to land catches by regulations adopted under section 15 of the Marine Resources Act;
  6. the import of wild living marine resources in connection with the landing of catches for which landing and sales notes are required under section 39 of the Marine Resources Act;
  7. any production and use of genetically modified organisms regulated by the Gene Technology Act;
  8. the import of sheep (Ovis aries), goats (Capra hircus), cattle(Bos primigenius taurus), zebu (Bos primigenius indicus), dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), donkeys (Equus asinus), horses(Equus caballus), mules, hinnies, domestic cats (Felis catus), pigs (Sus domesticus), domestic chickens(Gallus gallus domesticus), turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), ostriches (Struthio camelus), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Muscovy ducks(Cairina moschata), greylag geese (Anser anser), swan geese(Anser cygnoides), domestic pigeons (Columba livia domestica)and African collared doves (Streptopelia roseogrisea). Only the general requirements to exercise due care set out in sections 18 and 19 apply to releases of these species. For those species that exist in both wild and domesticated forms, the constraints on the scope of the regulations apply only to the domesticated forms. The constraints on the scope of the regulations so not apply to dogs, domestic cats and pigs that have been crossed with wild species.
  9. the import and release of domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), if carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Reindeer Husbandry Act and the general requirements to exercise due care set out in sections 18 and 19.
  10. the import and placing on the market to- and the release of plants in- botanical gardens, if carried out in accordance with the general requirements to exercise due care set out in sections 18 and 19, and the duty to maintain an internal control system in section 26.

(3) Assessments under these regulations shall not include considerations relating to plant, animal and human life and health that are safeguarded by the Communicable Diseases Control Act) and the Food Act.

(4) The requirement of a permit under this Act does not exempt the applicant from the requirement of an import or release permit under other legislation.

Section 4. Definitions

For the purposes of these regulations, the following definitions apply:

  1. population: a group of individuals of the same species living within a delimited area at the same time;
  2. biological diversity: ecosystem, species and intra-species genetic variability, and the ecological relationships between ecosystem components;
  3. alien organism: an organism that does not belong to a species or population that occurs naturally in an area;
  4. garden pond: artificial pond where organisms are kept solely for ornamental purposes, that is physically separate from and does not drain into other river systems, and that is designed and sited in such a way that water and organisms cannot be released to other river systems;         
  5. import: movement across a land border with a neighbouring state or to land from areas that lie outside the geographical scope of the regulations;
  6. microorganisms: single-celled organisms and viruses;
  7. biological, geological and landscape diversity: includes all diversity that is not largely a result of human influence;
  8. organism: an individual plant, animal, fungus or microorganism, including all parts thereof that are capable of reproduction or of transferring genetic material;
  9. organism from a native population: organisms that are descended from the original local population in the area;
  10. release: release, intentional discharge of organisms or the disposal of such organisms as waste into the environment, or into a closed system from which escape is not impossible;
  11. river system: lakes, pools, rivers, tributaries, streams, canals and artificial ponds;
  12. vector: any organism, object, means of transport, unconsolidated materials, etc that can transfer organisms to areas beyond their natural range;
  13. wildlife: terrestrial mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that occur naturally in the wild.

Chapter II. Import of organisms

Section 5. Prohibition against import

It is prohibited to import organisms that are listed in Appendix I.

Section 6. Requirement to hold a permit for import

A permit is required for the import of organisms to which the prohibition of section 5 and the exceptions set out in section 7 do not apply.

Section 7. Exceptions from the requirement to hold a permit for import

(1) Unless their import is prohibited under section 5, no permit is required for the import of:

  1. organisms that are listed in Appendix II provided that the import satisfies the conditions set out in the appendix;
  2. terrestrial plants;
  3. freshwater organisms that can only survive at temperatures above 5 °C, and that are to be kept solely for ornamental purposes in indoor aquaria that are designed in such a way that organisms cannot escape;
  4. marine plants, invertebrates and fish that are to be kept solely in containers on land, including aquaria, that are designed in such a way that organisms cannot escape;
  5. microorganisms;
  6. biological control agents for which an import permit has been granted in or under other legislation; and
  7. fungi and algae for human consumption.

(2) The exceptions from the requirement to hold a permit do not apply to organisms that are listed in Appendix III.

(3) Import under paragraph (1) shall be carried out in accordance with the due care requirements set out in Chapter V.

Section 8. Requirement to provide notification when importing organisms

Any person that imports organisms that under section 7 (1) c) or d) are excepted from the requirement to hold a permit, or Buff-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris terrestris) from Norwegian populations for pollination in greenhouses that under section 7 (1) a), see Appendix II, are excepted from the requirement to hold a permit, shall notify the Norwegian Environment Agency in accordance with section 16.

Chapter III. Release and placing on the market of alien organisms

Section 9. Prohibition against release and placing on the market

It is prohibited to release and place on the market organisms that are listed in Appendix I.

Section 10. Requirement to hold a permit for release

(1) Unless release is prohibited under section 9, or is excepted from the requirement to hold a permit under section 11, a permit under these regulations is required for the release of

  1. wildlife belonging to species, subspecies or populations that do not already occur naturally in the district;
  2. organisms, except those belonging to a native population, to the sea or a river system; and
  3. other organisms that do not belong to a species or population that occurs naturally in an area.

(2) The release of organisms belonging to a native population to the sea or a river system for the purpose of stock enhancement requires a permit under the Salmonids and Freshwater Fish Act.

Section 11. Exceptions from the requirement to hold a permit for release

(1) No permit under these regulations is required for the release of:

  1. organisms that are listed in Appendix IV provided that the release satisfies the conditions set out in the appendix;
  2. terrestrial plants in private gardens, if the release is carried out by a private person;
  3. scientifically risk assessed plants in parks and other cultivated areas, and areas used for public services and transport, commercial and industrial infrastructure, unless the plant is listed in Appendix V;
  4. plants from Norwegian populations that are not scientifically risk assessed in parks and other cultivated areas, and areas used for public services and transport, commercial and industrial infrastructure;
  5. biological control agents for which a release permit has been granted in or under other legislation;
  6. microorganisms, unless the microorganism is listed in Appendix IV;
  7. aquatic organisms for which a release permit has been granted under the Aquaculture Act;
  8. cleaner fish in aquaculture;
  9. organisms for which a release permit has been granted under section 7 and 10 of the Salmonids and Freshwater Fish Act.

(2) The Norwegian Environment Agency may release wildlife whose capture it initiated under the Regulations of 14 March 2003 No. 349 relating to the capture and collection of wildlife for scientific or other special purposes.

(3) Release under paragraphs 1) and 2) shall be carried out in accordance with the requirements to exercise due care set out in Chapter V.

Section 12. Requirement to provide notification of release of Dark-Tailed Bumblebee from Norwegian populations for pollination in greenhouses

Any person that releases Dark-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris terrestis) from Norwegian populations for pollination in greenhouses that under section 11 (1) a), see Appendix IV, is excepted from the requirement to hold a permit shall notify the Norwegian Environment Agency before the release in accordance with section 16.

Chapter IV. Applications, processing of applications and notification

Section 13. Keeping wildlife species in a closed system

(1) No permit under these regulations is required for the keeping of:

  1. American mink (Neovision vison), Silver Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Domesticated Arctic Fox/Polar Fox (Vulpes lagopus), and crossings between Silver Fox and Arctic Fox/Polar Fox, when the keeping is carried out in accordance with the Regulations 17 March 2011 relation to the keeping of animals for fur production;
  2. other alien organisms that can be imported under section 7 (1) a), see Appendix II, such as rabbit, indoors or in a closed cage or system.

(2) The keeping shall be carried out in accordance with the general requirements to exercise due care set out in sections 18 and 19, and the duty to maintain an internal control system in section 26.

Section 14. Requirements regarding applications

(1) Applications to import or release organisms shall be submitted to the Norwegian Environment Agency on the prescribed form.

(2) Applications shall contain the following information:

  1. the applicant’s contact information;
  2. the scientific name and any Norwegian or English name of the organism, its natural distribution range and information on its origin;
  3. the purpose of the import or release;
  4. the number or quantity specified in another way of organisms to which the application for import or release applies;
  5. in the case of applications for import, the period when import is planned, the area for final destination of the organisms, and the exporters or importers contact information;
  6. in the case of applications for release, a map or other specification of the area where release is planned, the landowner’s name and address and the period when release is planned;
  7. an assessment of the impacts the import or release may have on biological diversity; and
  8. a description of planned measures to reduce any risk of damage to biological diversity.

(3) Assessments under paragraph (2) g) shall be supported by documentation as far as is reasonable.

Section 15. Processing of applications

(1) The Norwegian Environment Agency shall assess whether applications meet the requirements set out in section 14. If the information in an application does not adequately clarify the impacts import or release may have on biological diversity, the Norwegian Environment Agency may require the applicant to provide further information and documentation, and if necessary initiate further investigations.

(2) Costs that accure in connection with obtaining information and documentation and carrying out further investigations under paragraph (1) shall be borne by the applicant in so far as this is not unreasonable. Such costs will not be charged the applicant without the applicant´s consent.

(3) When an application is considered, particular importance shall be attached to whether the organism to which the application applies and any accompanying organisms may entail a risk of adverse impacts on biological diversity. A permit may not be granted if there is reason to believe that the release will have substantial adverse impacts on biological diversity.

(4) The Norwegian Environment Agency shall assess and lay down any conditions that are considered necessary to prevent adverse impacts on biological diversity.

(5) A permit for import or release may apply for a certain period and cover several imports of the same organism or releases in the same place.

Section 16. Requirements relating to notification of import and release

(1) Notification under section 8 and 12 shall be submitted to the Norwegian Environment Agency on the prescribed form and shall contain the following information:

  1. the contact information of the person required to provide notification;
  2. the scientific name and any Norwegian or English name of the organism;
  3. the purpose of the import or release;
  4. in the case of release, specification of where the organisms are to be released.

(2) Notification under sections 8 and 12 shall be provided before import or release for the first time.

(3) A notification provided under the first paragraph applies for a period of three years for any further import or release in the same area of individuals of the organism for which notification has been provided and for the same purpose, unless the conditions that apply to import or release are altered.

(4) The receipt for the notification shall be retained by the person required to provide notification and shall be produced in the event of control.

Section 17. Amendment and revocation of permits

The Norwegian Environment Agency may in accordance with section 67 of the Nature Diversity Act cancel or amend the conditions of or set new conditions for a permit granted under these regulations, and if necessary revoke the permit.

Chapter V. Due care requirements and requirements relating to activities and projects that may result in the spread of alien organisms

Section 18. General requirement to exercise due care

(1) Any person that is responsible for the import, release or placing on the market of organisms, or that initiates projects that may result in the unintentional spread of alien organisms in the environment, shall act with due care to prevent the activities from having adverse impacts on biological diversity; this includes

  1. having a knowledge of the risk of damage to biological diversity that such activities and the organisms in question may involve, and of the measures required to prevent such damage; and
  2. taking measures to prevent the activities from causing damage to biological diversity and to detect any unintentional spread of alien organisms at an early stage.

(2) If an organism is imported or released in accordance with a permit issued under these regulations or other legislation, the duty of care is considered to be fulfilled if the conditions for the permit are still satisfied.

Section 19. Duty to take measures and provide notification

If there is serious damage to biological diversity or a risk of such damage as a result of the import, release or unintentional spread of alien organisms, the person responsible shall immediately, unless the duty to take measures and provide notification is prescribed in another statute:

  1. take appropriate measures to prevent and/or limit the damage;
  2. notify the Norwegian Environment Agency of the incident; and
  3. restore biological diversity to its initial state as far as possible by removing the alien organisms or taking other appropriate measures.

Section 20. Requirements relating to information to employees and to recipients of alien organisms

(1) The person responsible for an activity involving the import, placing on the market, other transfers, keeping or release of alien organisms shall ensure that employees and others who are involved in such activities have a knowledge of the risk of damage and of preventive measures in accordance with section 18 (1), of the duty to take action and the duty of notification under section 19, and of other provisions of these regulations that apply to the activities.

(2) The person responsible for placing on the market or other transfers of alien organisms shall make customers and other recipients of the organisms aware of the risk of damage and of preventive measures in accordance with section 18 (1), of the duty to take action and the duty to take measures and provide notification under section 19, and of other provisions of these regulations that apply to the organisms in question.

Section 21. Requirements relating to storage and packaging during transport

Any person responsible for the import or transport of organisms that may entail a risk of damage to biological diversity if they are spread shall ensure that they are stored and packaged in such a way that they cannot be released into the environment during transport.

Section 22. Requirements relating to measures for the keeping of alien organisms

(1) Any person that is responsible for keeping aquatic alien species in garden ponds or in aquaria or other closed containers shall ensure that the water from such ponds and containers is not discharged into the sea or a river system or into a sewerage system where the water is not treated in a way that prevents organisms from being released into the environment.

Section 23. Requirements relating to written environmental risk assessments in connection with the establishment and expansion of parks and areas used for public services and transport, commercial and industrial infrastructure

(1) Before any release[1] of alien terrestrial plants in connection with the establishment or expansion of parks and areas used for public services and transport, commercial and industrial infrastructure, the person responsible shall prepare a written assessment of reasonable scope of the dispersal ability of the plants in question and the risk of damage to biological diversity in the area where they are to be released, including any measures to prevent damage that are to be taken under section 18. The assessment shall be made available to the Norwegian Environment Agency on request.

Section 24. Requirements relating to measures against possible vectors and pathways of introduction for alien organisms

(1) Any person that is responsible for the import, placing on the market, other transfers or release of organisms shall as far as is reasonable undertake investigations to detect and take measures to prevent the spread of accompanying organisms that may involve a risk of damage to biological diversity. Examples of such investigations and measures include regular samples that are sent for analysis, demands that the supplier provide for better routines before shipments, imports of plants without soil, cleaning of roots ect.

(2) Any person that is responsible for the import of possible vectors for the unintentional spread of alien organisms to the environment shall assess the risk of such spread and take reasonable steps to prevent this, such as cleaning, debarking or other treatment.

(3) Fishing gear, boats and other equipment for use in rivers and lakes shall be cleaned and dried before import.

(4) Before initiating projects that involve the transfer of water from one river system to another, or to other parts of the same river system, such as washing down bridges, the person responsible shall make themselves familiar with the available information on the risk of the spread of alien organisms as a result of the project. If there is such a risk, the person responsible shall to the extent reasonable take suitable steps to prevent such spread.

(5) Before any movement of unconsolidated materials such as sands and gravels or other materials that may contain organisms, the person responsible shall to the extent reasonable investigate whether the materials may contain organisms that may have adverse impacts on biological diversity, and take suitable steps to avoid such risk, for example through the use of materials from other areas, capping burial, heat treatment or delivery to an approved waste treatment facility.

(6) If there is a risk of damage to biological diversity, the Norwegian Environment Agency may adopt further provisions on requirements relating to cleaning or other treatment of possible vectors for the unintentional spread of alien organisms, requirements relating to documentation that any such treatment has been carried out, and prohibitions against the movement of fishing gear, boats or other equipment for use in river systems.

Chapter VI. Labelling and internal control system

Section 25. Labelling of consignments

(1) When imported, consignments of organisms shall be labelled with the scientific name and any Norwegian or English name of the organisms, and with the number of organisms or the quantity specified in another way.

(2) In the case of imports for which a permit or notification is required, the consignment shall be labelled with the reference number specified in the permit or in the receipt for the notification. The same applies if an exemption has been granted under section 33.

(3) The requirements for labelling under this provision do not apply to consignments of animal feed, seed, or other plants or parts of plants that are subject to requirements relating to labelling in regulations adopted under the Food Act.

Section 26. Duty to maintain an internal control system

(1) Enterprises engaged in the import, placing on the market, keeping or release of alien organisms shall establish and document an internal control system. The internal control system and the documentation of the system shall be adapted to the nature, activities and size of the enterprise to the extent necessary to comply with the provisions set out in or adopted under these regulations.

(2) The internal control system shall ensure that employees of the enterprise have a knowledge of the provisions of these regulations, including the requirements relating to due care under Chapter V, the conditions for permits for import or release, and routines for compliance with these provisions.

(3) The internal control system shall as a minimum include:

  1. routines to ensure compliance with the requirements set out in or adopted under these regulations;
  2. routines the enterprise follows in the event of non-compliance with the regulations, and to prevent repeated non-compliance with the regulations;
  3. routines to ensure that employees or others involved in the activities of the enterprise comply with the conditions laid down in permits
  4. information on who is responsible for ensuring that the routines are followed.

(4) The enterprise shall make documentation of the internal control system available in the event of control.

(5) The duty to maintain an internal control system does not cover agricultural enterprises that release plants.

Chapter VII. Import controls

Section 27. Import controls

(1) The customs authorities are responsible for controls to ensure that organisms are not imported contrary to these regulations.

(2) The customs authorities may require an import permit or a receipt for a notification of import to be shown at the customs office, and may make further checks of compliance with other requirements of these regulations. Where there is doubt about compliance with requirements under these regulations, the customs authorities may detain the organisms up to five working days, until the Norwegian Environment Agency has clarified the matter.

Section 28. Import contrary to the regulations

(1) If a consignment does not satisfy the requirements of the regulations relating to permits or notification, or consists of prohibited organisms, see section 5, and no exemption has been granted permitting import, the customs authorities may detain the organisms until the Norwegian Environment Agency has made a decision on further procedures regarding import of the consignment, see section 32.

(2) If there is a risk of the escape or spread of organisms, see section 21, the customs authorities may detain the organisms until there is no longer a risk of escape or spread, or the Norwegian Environment Agency has made a decision on procedures regarding import of the consignment, see section 32. This applies even if the consignment otherwise meets the requirements for import under these regulations.

Section 29. Costs

All costs associated with organisms that are detained and their further treatment may be claimed from the person responsible for the import of the organisms, see section 71, second paragraph, of the Nature Diversity Act.

Chapter IX. Final provisions

Section 30. Supervision

The Norwegian Environment Agency will monitor compliance with the provisions laid down in and under these regulations, see sections 63 to 65 of the Nature Diversity Act.

Section 31. Exemptions

The Norwegian Environment Agency may, if important considerations of the public interest so require, make exemptions from the provisions of these regulations, provided that this is not contrary to the purpose of the regulations.

Section 32. Enforcement and sanctions

(1) The Norwegian Environment Agency will enforce the provisions of these regulations in accordance with sections 69 to 73 of the Nature Diversity Act. Provisions adopted under section 7, second paragraph, of the Wildlife Act, will be enforced under sections 69, 71, 72 and 73 of the Nature Diversity Act, see section 7, second paragraph, of the Wildlife Act.

(2) Any contravention of these regulations or of decisions made under them may result in the imposition of environmental compensation or penal measures under sections 74 and 75 of the Nature Diversity Act. Contravention of the due care requirements under section 18 relating to release cannot result in the imposition of penal measures, see the Nature Diversity Act section 75 first paragraph. Any contravention of provisions adopted under section 7, second paragraph, of the Wildlife Act may result in penalties under section 56 of the Wildlife Act.

Section 33. Entry into force of the regulations

(1) These regulations enter into force on 1 January 2016.

(2) The requirements to provide notification under sections 8 for the import of organisms that under section 7 (1) c) or d) are excepted from the requirement to hold a permit, enter into force from the time the Ministry of Climate and Environment decides.

(3) For plants of the genera Berberis, Cotoneaster, Laburnum, Populus, Salix and Swida that are listed in Appendix I, the prohibition against import, release and placing on the market under sections 5 and 9 enters into force five years after the entry into force of these regulations. During the transitional period, no permit is required for release of these plants in the areas specified in section 11 (1) b) and c).

(4) The requirement to hold a permit set out in section 10 for the release of terrestrial plants that are not from Norwegian populations and that are not scientifically risk assessed in parks and other cultivated areas, and areas used for public services and transport, commercial and industrial infrastructure, is given postponed entry into force if the plant is not likely to spread beyond the area, and its spread does not involve a risk of adverse impacts on biological diversity. The requirement enters into force from the time the Ministry of Climate and Environment decides.

Section 34. Transitional provisions regarding the keeping of alien organisms in garden ponds

(1) It is permitted to keep aquatic alien organisms in a garden pond for a transitional period of five years from the entry into force of these regulations if the said organisms are not covered by the exception from the requirement to hold a permit set out in section 11 (1) a), if they were released before these regulations entered into force and the release took place in accordance with the rules that were in force at the time of release, and keeping the organisms is not considered to involve a risk of damage to biological diversity in the transitional period.

Section 35. Repeal of and amendments to other regulations

(1) From the date of the entry into force of these regulations, the following regulations are repealed:

  1. Regulations of 17 February 2009 No. 212 relating to a prohibition against the import, release, placing on the market and keeping of Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis) and Nuttall’s pondweed (Elodea nuttallii).
  2. Regulations of 18 December 1992 No. 1174 relating to the import of aquarium organisms.

(2) From the date of the entry into force of these regulations, the following amendments are made to other regulations:

....

Appendices to the regulations

Appendix I: organisms whose import, release and placing on the market is prohibited, see section 5 and 9.

Appendix II: organisms that may be imported without a permit, see section 7 (1) a).

Appendix III: organisms to which the exceptions from the requirement to hold a permit for import set out in section 7 (1) do not apply, see section 7 (2).

Appendix IV: organisms that may be released without a permit, see section 11 (1) a).

Appendix V: organisms to which the exceptions from the requirement to hold a permit for release do not apply, see section 11 (1) c) and f).



[1] 1 - Note: in this context, ”release” in practice means planting or sowing

Read regulation at lovdata.no