1. Meet New Zealand requirements to export seafood

Find out the New Zealand requirements for export seafood. This is one step in a 5-step process.

Comply with New Zealand legislation and food standards

You need to meet labelling requirements and all relevant food standards and regulations. Legal requirements are set out in the:

  • Animal Products Act 1999
  • Food Act 2014
  • Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Find links to legislation and the Code

Operating requirements

If you process fish and seafood in New Zealand, you must manage risk to make sure you're providing safe and suitable food. Your operating requirements depend on what type of seafood processing you do and where it's done.

In most cases, you'll need a registered and verified risk management programme (RMP). Secondary processors of seafood going to a market that does not require an export certificate can, in some cases, be done under either an RMP or a food control plan – but you're advised to check destination requirements. Limited processing fishing vessels need a regulated control scheme (RCS). Note that: 

  • seafood that is processed on an RMP vessel or a limited processing vessel can be exported directly. All other seafood must go through a land-based processor.
  • bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS) are a high-risk product and must be sourced from classified growing areas and processed for export in RMP premises.
  • RMPs can be developed using codes of practice for processing of seafood product or rendering.

Follow the rules for your type of business

The processing section on this website has details about the requirements for different types of processors and operators.

Vessel operators

Limited processing fishing vessels

Inshore fishing vessels

Factory vessels that carry out primary processing at sea under an RMP

Land-based processors and storage depots

Land-based seafood processors

Renderers of fish material

Animal material depots that store fish and seafood

Cold and dry stores for seafood

Other processors and operators

Growers, harvesters, and processors of bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS)

Fish farm operators

Get your programme, scheme, or plan verified

After developing your risk management programme (RMP), you must register it and get it verified each year. MPI Verification Services verifies operators. You need to work with them to make sure your seafood complies with all of the requirements and that you're following your RMP or RCS.

Verifying a food control plan

If you operate under a food control plan, the verification process is different.

Use correct fish names

Exporters of fish and fish products need to meet the labelling and naming requirements of the export destination country. Fish products must also follow the labelling requirements set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Storage and transport requirements

Stand-alone operators who store seafood before it is exported must meet specific requirements, depending on their market. Seafood also has specific storage temperature requirements, which are detailed in the Code of Practice (COP).

Legislation and standards

Animal Products Act 1999 – NZ Legislation

Food Act 2014 – NZ Legislation

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Food Standards

Find out more

The Food Act 2014 and what it means for businesses

Check the other 4 steps to exporting seafood

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