We support fish exporters to access markets overseas, but other government agencies and industry groups also have a role in supporting exports from Australia.
If you are involved in exporting fish products, you are responsible for keeping up to date with changes to market access.
There are a range of resources available outside of our website that may be useful for your manufacturing and export activities, see some examples of this below.
Codes and standards
Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Codes
The Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Codes (AHECC) are designed for use by exporters, customs brokers and freight forwarders in the classification of goods when providing export declarations to the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. AHECC codes are not taken care of by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
The Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding system is generally referred to as the ‘Harmonised System’ (HS). It is a multi-purpose international product classification that is used to identify and classify traded products.
Fish and fish products are detailed in Chapter 3 of the AHECC. The first 6 align with international classification standards, while the last two digits are specific to Australian exports.
Failure to properly classify your product could lead to incorrect taxation on your exports and the potential loss of the product.
The Codex Alimentarius (CODEX) are harmonised international food standards, which protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade. Search for standards on the Codex Alimentarius web page.
CODEX requirements provide guidance for a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan to meet export requirements. See Codex Alimentarius document for more information.
Food Standards Code
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is developed and administered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
The Code includes requirements for:
- standards that apply to all foods (labelling, additives, microbiological limits etc.)
- food standards for specific foods (Standard 2.2.3 Fish and Fish Products)
- food safety standards
- primary production standards.
Enforcement and interpretation of the Code is the responsibility of state and territory departments and food agencies within Australia and New Zealand.
User guides to the Food Standards Code are available to help industry comply with the Code. The guides, unlike the standards, are not legally binding.
Seafood Industry Australia
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) is the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry as a whole. SIA have members from the wildcatch, aquaculture and post-harvest sectors of the Australian seafood industry.
SafeFish provides technical advice to support Australia’s seafood trade and market access negotiations and helps to resolve barriers to trade.
It brings together experts in food safety and hygiene to work with the industry and regulators to agree on and prioritise technical issues impacting on free and fair market access for Australian seafood.
Seafood Export Consultative Committee
The Seafood Export Consultative Committee (SECC) is the principal consultative committee for the department and the Australian seafood export industry.
It discusses technical and administrative matters in relation to the export of fish and fish products.
Australian Fish Names Committee
The Australian Fish Names Committee, established under the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), assigns standard fish names in accordance with transparent and rigorous procedures.
We update the fish names used in our systems for issuing export certification to ensure continued legislative compliance with the Australian Fish Names Standard.
State government shellfish agencies
Exported shellfish must be harvested from a harvest area that is listed for export. If you are interested in gaining export listing, you should first contact the shellfish control agency in your state.
Shellfish agency websites:
- NSW — New South Wales Food Authority, Shellfish Program
- SA — South Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program
- TAS — Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program
- VIC — Victorian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program
- WA — Western Australia Shellfish Quality Assurance Program
The Seafood Export Facilitator (SEF) service
The department offers a free Seafood Exporter Facilitator (SEF) service to the seafood export industry.
The SEF provides one-on-one support to existing export registered establishments as well as potential exporters that are seeking to become export registered. For more information, see Seafood Export Facilitator service web page.
The SEF has recorded a range of short video resources which step through some frequently asked questions. See Seafood video resources web page.