Risk Management Programmes (RMPs) for seafood

Only some seafood businesses have to operate under an RMP. These range from factory vessels to some processing premises and cold and dry stores.

An RMP is a written programme designed by an operator to manage biological, chemical and physical hazards so that all product traded and used is "fit for its intended purpose" by meeting the appropriate New Zealand animal product standards.

The Animal Products Act 1999 requires all primary processors of seafood – as well as other kinds of animal material – to operate under an RMP. However, the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000 exempts some seafood operators from this requirement.

Seafood processors that need an RMP

These businesses must operate under an RMP:

  • fishing vessels wanting to fillet fish on board
  • land-based seafood processing premises that undertake primary processing and sell only wholesale fish
  • processing premises handling any seafood products that will be exported with an official assurance (export certificate)
  • rendering operations that process any seafood for animal consumption
  • stores (cold and dry) handling any seafood products that will be exported with an official assurance.

These bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS) businesses also require an RMP:

  • depuration (cleansing) premises
  • land-based wet storage premises
  • processors handling any BMS products that will be exported with an official assurance (export certificate).

Seafood operators exempt from needing an RMP

Fish processors that are exempt from operating under an RMP are:

  • inshore vessels that don’t fillet fish on board
  • Limited Processing Fishing Vessels (LPFVs) that operate under the Regulated Control Scheme (RCS)
  • fish farmers
  • fish retailers
  • fish depots
  • whitebait harvesters
  • fish-related tourist ventures.

These exemptions are specified in the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000.

Fishing operations in New Zealand's exclusive economic zone that don't need an RMP

If you take fish from New Zealand's exclusive economic zone, you may not need an RMP. To be excluded under the Animal Products Act, you need to ensure that:

  • the fish are not landed in New Zealand
  • the fish or fish products are not claimed to be New Zealand products.

This RMP exemption is provided under clause 4 of the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000.

RMP template for filleting fish on inshore fishing vessels

RMP requirements differ, depending on whether you are selling the filleted fish in the New Zealand market or preparing them for export.

MPI and the Seafood Standards Council have published a template to help prepare an RMP for filleted fish intended for the New Zealand market. 

This template does not cover requirements for exporting fish that have been filleted on board your vessel. If you wish to export filleted fish, you must have a fully customised and registered RMP.

Find more RMP information

Read the RMP information that applies to all industries, such as how to register or change an RMP and how to get your RMP verified:

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