Inshore fishing vessels and food safety
Inshore fishing vessel operators must follow food safety guidelines when they dehead, gut, and scale fish. Depending on your activities, there are different processes you need to follow.
Inshore vessel processing activities
Inshore vessel (boat) operators do these processes with the fish they catch:
- chilling or freezing.
Guideline to help inshore fishing vessels meet requirements
Voluntary food safety guidelines are available for fishing vessels that:
- supply product to domestic markets or export markets
- do not operate under a risk management programme (RMP)
- do not operate under the Limited Processing Fishing Vessels (LPFV) Regulated Control Scheme (RCS).
The guidelines can help you make sure that you meet your requirements under the Food Act 2014 and the Animal Products Act 1999.
You can follow the guidelines to:
- make sure that you handle fish safely
- make sure that your hygiene practices are safe
- get advice on controlling the temperature of seafood.
Even though the guidelines are voluntary, you must still meet the requirements of the Food Act 2014. You can check you're following the right safety rules using our online tool My food rules
A guide to preventing histamine poisoning
New Zealand has a history of histamine poisoning, particularly in summer. The Histamine guide shows you how to protect public health by preventing the development of histamine in susceptible fish species.
General requirements for all inshore vessel operators
If you supply fish from your inshore vessel (other than live fish), you must comply with section 62 of the Animal Product Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption.
This notice requires suppliers of fish (that are not live fish), to ensure that the fish are:
- chilled or frozen from the time of catching or harvesting to the time of arrival at the processing premises
- handled in a way that minimises contamination and deterioration.
Fish that are temporarily held on land before being transferred to the primary processor, other than bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS), must be held in an animal material depot listed for that purpose by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
You may also need to meet requirements under the Food Act 2014. You can check you're following the right safety rules using our online tool My food rules
Requirements for fish processors under the Fisheries Act 1996
If you process fish, you also have to meet requirements under the Fisheries Act 1996 and related legislation. Requirements can include:
- using conversion factors for processed fish
- using correct fisheries species codes
- tagging southern bluefin tuna.
Filleting fish on board inshore fishing vessels
If you fillet finfish on a fishing vessel, you need to operate under a registered risk management programme (RMP).
Filleting of finfish at sea is classified as primary processing.
Resources for developing your fish filleting RMP
RMP template for inshore vessels – fish filleting [PDF, 354 KB]
RMP template for inshore vessels – fish filleting [DOC, 482 KB]
Using the templates makes you eligible for an evaluation exemption
Normally, when you develop an RMP, you need an RMP evaluator to evaluate it. However, when you use an RMP template, you don't need to do this. Use the waiver document to apply for an evaluation exemption.
Find out more about RMPs
Exporting filleted fish
To export filleted fish, you need a fully customised and registered RMP.
Inshore vessel product eligible for European Union countries
If you operate an inshore vessel and plan to export the fish product to the European Union (EU), you must meet additional requirements. These come from the EU Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR).
Who to contact
If you have questions about inshore fishing vessels and food safety, email email@example.com