About Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
As a seafood exporter, you're responsible for knowing and meeting the requirements of your destination country. You can find most of the requirements in documents called OMARs – Overseas Market Access Requirements. OMARs differ between countries and products. They set out requirements for all operators in your export chain. These could be, for example, processors, storage providers, and transporters.
Some markets have more demanding requirements than others. It's worth checking the requirements before deciding where you want to export to.
You need to apply to MPI to read seafood OMARs because they're password-protected.
Apply for a password to access OMARs
Search for your OMAR
When you have your password, you'll be able to read the OMARs. For seafood, you need to look at the OMARs for animal products.
Find your destination market OMAR
Check all the requirements in the OMAR
Read the OMAR for your destination market thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all the requirements.
If your export destination has an OMAR, you'll likely need an 'official assurance'. This is also known as an export certificate. You'll need this before you can send your seafood. Official assurance is the New Zealand Government's assurance to the destination market that your product meets the standards set out in the OMAR.
You apply for an export certificate through E-cert. (Information about E-cert is covered in steps 4 and 5 of exporting seafood).
Tip: It's helpful to establish a working relationship with an import agent in your destination market. They can confirm any other requirements you may need to meet – sometimes OMARs don't contain all requirements.
Other information you should check
Besides the OMAR, there may be other documents that have information about your market.
Guidance offered by FYIs can help you with exporting concerns or issues. You may need your OMAR password to read some FYIs.
OMAR notifications will give you the latest updates for your destination market.
'For Your Information' (FYI) documents
Check if mercury certification is needed
Some markets require official assurance about the level of mercury in seafood. Our guide has everything you need to know.
Mercury certification guide [PDF, 521 KB]
Exporting to a market with no OMAR
You have to work directly with your importing agent to find out about certification and other requirements if there's no OMAR for your export destination. If an import permit is required, the permit will outline the requirements.
Note that if there is no OMAR, it could mean your product is prohibited from being sent to that country.
Some destinations that don't need official assurances may instead require a free sales certificate (FSC), or a free sales statement (FSS).
Find out more about FSCs and FSSs
Find out if your premises need to be approved
Some countries require premises to be approved, or 'listed', before you can export your products. 'Listing' is a procedure agreed between governments for ensuring that a country's market access requirements are met and products are produced in premises approved to export to that country. Your OMAR will tell you if you need to be listed, and the process to follow.
Are you using wood packaging?
If you use wood packaging products – other than paper – for your export product, check that your wood packaging meets the phytosanitary requirements of the destination market. Most markets require you to treat your wood packaging to make sure it's free of pests and diseases.
Find out the export requirements when using wood packaging