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Exporting fish and fish products

​​​​​​​​​​​Fish and fish products are known as ‘prescribed’ goods under Australian legislation, and as a result the export of fish and products for human consumption is regulated by Australian’s Export Control legislation.

This legislation supports the production of safe food and ensures that all food exported complies with Australian Food Standards and any additional importing country requirements.  

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources regulates and provides oversight at various points throughout the export supply chain. This includes registering establishment that manufacture, store, handle and load fish and fish products for export.

The department also has controls and regulations in place for the issuance of Government export certification.

Depending on what part of the export chain you or your business falls within, there are differing requirements which must be met. Please note that some businesses may fall into both categories shown below.

For food businesses which process, store, handle or load fish and fish products for export, the following provisions apply:

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Registration

  • Establishments which prepare fish and fish products for the purpose of export must be registered with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. "Preparation" is defined in the Export Control Act 1982 and includes processing, storage, handling and loading activities.
  • An establishment does not need to be registered to undertake activities which fall outside the definition of "preparation".
  • For fish and fish products to be export eligible they must remain within the 'export chain' i.e. if transported from one establishment to another each establishment must be export registered to prepare fish and fish products.
  • Becoming export registered.

Approved Arrangement

  • For an establishment to gain export registration with the department, there must be an Approved Arrangement (AA) in place which details how that establishment will meet Australian export legislation.
  • An AA is a fully documented system which has been approved by the department, and includes controls for food safety, traceability, verification and importing country requirements.

Department Audit Regime

  • As a condition of registration, an export registered establishment will be audited at a set frequency by the department, or an external department approved auditor.
  • These audits verify that the establishment is meeting all requirements set out in food export legislation and the establishment's approved arrangement.

If you would like to become a registered fish export establishment, please see the Guidelines to Compliance which are linked to each heading above. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with Australian’s Export Control legislation.

For exporters wishing to export fish and fish products, the following provisions apply:

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Export Permit

  • Fish and fish products require a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources export permit in order to be exported from Australia.
  • A Department of Agriculture and Water Resources export permit includes information such as a description of the fish product, the registered export establishment(s) where it was processed, the destination country, etc.
  • An export permit must be raised electronically, using the department's EXport DOCumentation system (EXDOC).
  • All export permits must be obtained prior to exporting the goods.
  • There are two types of EXDOC users.
    • The exporter is the party legally liable for the goods and is nominated on the export documentation.
    • An EDI User is the party raising the documentation via the department’s electronic EXDOC system.
  • An Exporter must be registered on the EXDOC system as an exporter for a particular commodity or commodities.
  • An EDI User must be registered with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and have an installed software package to interface with the EXDOC system.

Export Health Certificate

  • When an overseas country has a requirement in place for fish and fish products to be accompanied by an export health certificate, the department can issue this document via EXDOC at the time an export permit is issued.
If you would like to become a registered fish exporter, or EDI user, please see the Guidelines to Compliance which are linked to each heading above. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with Australian’s Export Control legislation.

There are some regulatory requirements and conditions which are applicable to both export registered establishments, as well as exporters. These include the following:

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Importing Country Requirements

  • In addition to the Australian requirements set out in food export legislation, importing countries may have additional requirements, such as labelling or product testing as an example, which must be met in order for fish and fish products to obtain entry.
  • These importing country requirements must be met by both export registered establishments, as well as exporters.
  • To look up the requirements of importing countries, please see the Manual for Importing Country Requirements (MICOR).

Fees and Charges

  • There are fees and charges associated with registration of an export establishment, the audit of an export establishment, the issuance of an RFP, as well as the issuance of a Government Health Certificate. For more information about fees and charges, please see Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Charging Guidelines​.
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Last reviewed:
01 Dec 2015