Introduction to fish and seafood harvest, processing and sale
Find out about the food safety requirements you need to meet if you grow, harvest, process, store, or sell fish and seafood in New Zealand.
Types of seafood
Seafood includes fish and shellfish, such as:
Also classed as seafood is a type of shellfish known as bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS). BMS have a shell in 2 hinged halves or valves. They include:
What you need to do
You'll need to know the legal requirements for your specific business activity. You should check whether you need to operate under:
- a risk management programme (RMP), or
- a regulated control scheme (RCS), or
- some other requirements.
Check the requirements for your specific business activity
You only need to follow the requirements for the activity you're doing.
- Bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS)
- Fish farming and aquaculture
- Land-based seafood processing
- Limited processing fishing vessels (LPFVs)
- Inshore fishing vessels
- RMP vessels processing seafood at sea
Our roadmap gives an overview of all legislation and regulations relevant to seafood.
Roadmap for seafood legislation [PDF, 1 MB]
Using codes of practice
Some activities require you to operate under a risk management programme (RMP). For some, there are codes of practice that you can use. Some businesses find it easier to use one of these to set up an RMP. For seafood processing, there are codes of practice for:
- cold and dry stores
- further processing.
Rules and information for specific seafood activities
Remember, you only need to meet the requirements that apply to your specific seafood processing activity.
You must meet requirements if you grow, harvest, process, store, or transport BMS commercially:
- from marine farms
- from land-based fish farms
- that you harvested from the wild.
The requirements you need to meet are:
- food safety requirements under the Animal Products Act 1999
- requirements under the Regulated Control Scheme for BMS (BMS RCS).
Regulated Control Schemes (RCSs) are imposed by the government to manage food-related risks.
If you supply farmed fish (or shellfish or other seafood) for processing, there are other requirements that you must meet.
Land-based fish processing premises can carry out primary and/or secondary processing of seafood on land. The requirements you must meet depend on whether you:
- do primary or secondary processing
- process seafood for the New Zealand market or for export.
If you operate an LPFV, there are restrictions on the fish and fish product you can process on your vessel. The processed fish product may be:
- exported without further processing, or
- processed at a land-based fish processing premises.
LPFVs must also meet the requirements under the regulated control scheme (RCS) for LPFVs.
Inshore fishing vessel operators harvest fish and other seafood. Visit this page for information on the requirements.
RMP vessels carry out fishing and primary and/or secondary processing of seafood at sea. Fish processed on RMP vessels may go directly from the vessel to New Zealand or export markets without further processing.
Guidelines for specific seafood risks and activities
Seafood guidelines are developed to help seafood operators manage certain seafood-related activities or risks.
For example, the Seafood Operational Code describes good operating practice for seafood processing operations, and the Listeria guidance documents describe how operators can minimise Listeria contamination in read-to-eat seafood.
Check other rules that may apply to you
Make sure you also find out about:
- seafood exporting requirements
- managing risk in seafood processing
- fish names - labelling requirements
- commercial fishing requirements
Related orders and regulations
- Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000 – NZ Legislation
- Animal Products Regulations 2000 – NZ Legislation
- Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish) Regulations 2006 – NZ Legislation
- Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Limited Processing Fishing Vessels) Regulations 2001 – NZ Legislation
- Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Contaminant Monitoring and Surveillance) Regulations 2004 – NZ Legislation
Related orders and animal product notices
- Animal Products (Definition of Primary Processor) Notice 2000 – NZ Legislation
- Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption [PDF, 1.3 MB]
- Animal Products Notice: Regulated Control Scheme - Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish for Human Consumption [PDF, 874 KB]
- Animal Products (Specifications for Limited Processing Fishing Vessels) Notice [PDF, 264 KB]
- Animal Products Notice: Contaminant Monitoring and Surveillance [PDF, 223 KB]
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