Limited processing fishing vessels and food safety

Find out about limited processing fishing vessel (LPFV) operator requirements, processing restrictions, how to meet the regulated control scheme requirements, and how to register your vessel.

LPFV operator requirements

If you operate a LPFV in New Zealand, you need to:

  • understand the processing restrictions
  • meet the LPFV regulated control scheme (RCS) requirements
  • register your vessel.

Processing restrictions for LPFVs

There are restrictions on the fish and fish product that LPFVs can process on board. The processed fish material is usually exported.

Limited fish processing activities that are allowed

If you operate an LPFV, you can only do these primary processing activities:

  • washing, scaling, and gutting
  • deheading, tubing, and tailing
  • chilling and freezing
  • storage, packing, and transport.

Limited processing doesn't include filleting. Vessel operators who want to do filleting and other fish processing activities need to have a risk management programme (RMP).

Find out more

RMP vessels processing at sea

Inshore fishing vessels and food safety

Animal Products (Definition of Primary Processor) Notice 2000 – NZ Legislation

LPFV RCS requirements

You need to operate under the LPFC RCS if:

  • you an operate an LPFV, and
  • export seafood directly from your vessel.

The RCS covers all limited processing operations done on LPFVs. This includes processing of fish products and fishmeal.

Key requirements of the RCS

Under the RCS, you must:

  • register your LPFV
  • develop a documented system for implementing the requirements of the RCS, including the control of food safety hazards
  • have your system checked by a recognised verifier.

Choosing between the RCS and an RMP

In general, LPFVs are required to register under the LPFV RCS.

You can choose to operate under a RMP instead of the RCS. If you choose to operate under an RMP, you must meet the same requirements as RMP vessels. 

Find out more about risk management programmes for seafood

You can choose to change from operating under the RCS to operating under an RMP, and vice versa. However, you can't operate under both at the same time.

RMP vessels doing limited processing

If you operate as an RMP vessel, but do limited processing for short amounts of time, we recommend that you consider including all processing operations in a registered RMP, instead of switching between the RCS and RMP.

You do not need an RMP for some fish

You don't need to process fish under an RMP if:

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

This RMP exemption is in clause 4 of the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000 – NZ Legislation


The RCS requirements for LPFV operators come from these 2 legal documents:

Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Limited Processing Fishing Vessels) Regulations 2001

Animal Products (Specifications for Limited Processing Fishing Vessels) Notic3 2005 [PDF, 264 KB]

Applying to register your LPFV

Before you start trading, you must apply to register your LPFV. Use the AP17 form:

Application form AP17: Registration of a limited processing fishing vessel [DOC, 708 KB]

Application form AP17: Registration of a limited processing fishing vessel [PDF, 609 KB]

The form has details of the application fee, and information on how to send the form to us.

List of registered LPFVs

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) keeps a list of all registered LPFVS.

Limited Processing Fishing Vessels

RCS verification

You need to provide us a verification report within 3 months of applying to register your LPFV. This report needs to be done by a recognised verifier. They will need to verify your LPFV more or less often, depending on your level of compliance.

For more information, see the Animal Products (Specifications for Limited Processing Fishing Vessels) Notice [PDF, 264 KB]

Find out more

Exporting seafood

Commercial fishing

Who to contact

If you have questions about limited processing fishing vessels and food safety, email

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