Step-by-step guide to exporting fish and fish products

​​​​Follow these steps to export fish and fish products. This guide will help you comply with Austra​lian export laws and meet importing country requirements.

Fees and charges apply to some steps.

Note: If you are exporting live fish not intended for human consumption, refer to requirements for live animal exports.

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Step 1: Check how your goods are defined

You need to understand how your product is defined by law, as export requirements differ between products.

Prescribed goods

Any seafood product:

  • intended for human consumption; and
  • where the major ingredient is fish (aquaculture or wild caught).

Examples include:

  • abalone
  • crocodile
  • crustaceans (such as prawns, rock lobster, yabbies, crabs)
  • finfish (such as eel, tuna)
  • shellfish (such as oysters, scallops, mussels, pipis, clams, cockles)
  • products where if fish was removed as an ingredient, the product would no longer have the stated or implied characteristics (such as sand-crab lasagne, smoked salmon dip, fish sauce).

We regulate prescribed goods. To find out how to export prescribed goods, continue to Step 2​.

Non-prescribed goods

Examples include:

  • shells
  • seaweed
  • products where fish is an ingredient but not the major part (weight or volume) of the product e.g. bakery products containing fish oils, fish oil capsules
  • fish and fish products for animal food
  • products where fish is an ingredient but not described or represented as being a fish product.

You do not need to continue through this guide. You must still meet any specific requirements of the importing country.

In some cases, a non-prescribed good becomes a prescribed product when an importing country requires export registration and certification.

Find out how to export non-prescribed goods.

Step 2: Check importing country requirements

For both prescribed and non-prescribed goods, you must meet all requirements set by the importing country.

Before you export:

Step 3: Register with us

You must register with us if you are involved in the export of prescribed fish products. Requirements vary depending on your role in the export process.


As an exporter you are the person or company legally responsible for complying with the export requirements of your fish products.

Your name is on all export documents. You make or have all declarations that the products are fit for export and meet importing country requirements.

Register as an exporter through our Export Documentation System (EXDOC). This is how you link your name and details to documents requested through the system.

Export establishments

You need to register with us if you handle prescribed fish products for export. This applies to:

  • freight forwarders
  • manufacturers
  • processors
  • producers
  • storage facilities
  • vessels where product is packed on board for export.

To register your establishment you must:

We will conduct:

  • a check of all staff listed in your application
  • a check for any outstanding debt to the Commonwealth owed by the establishment
  • an audit of your establishment to confirm details and effective implementation of your approved arrangement.

If you want to export your own product (rather than sell to an exporter or another export registered establishment) you will also need to register as an exporter.

Find out more about registering as an establishment.

Step 4: Find a supplier

Complete this step if you are exporting goods manufactured by someone else.

You must only source products from an export registered establishment. You are responsible for making sure your supplier is registered with us.

Organic or biodynamic goods

If you declare that your products are organic or biodynamic you must source these products from a certified supplier.

Check that your supplier has a certificate of compliance. This must be issued by an approved certifying organisation.

Step 5: Gather evidence of export eligibility

Make sure you have all certificates, declarations and any supporting documentation you need to export your goods.

You must confirm that you have these documents when you request an export permit.

Declaration of compliance

Manufacturers of fish products for export are responsible for making a declaration of compliance​.

The declaration confirms the goods are eligible for export, specifically that the product:

Each shipment must have a declaration of compliance. The declaration must provide assurance that all products in the shipment comply.

Transfer declaration

When you receive or dispatch fish goods from your export registered establishment to another, you must make a transfer declaration. This does not apply if you are sending product straight to a wharf or airport.

The declaration must identify the specific goods and state that the product has been stored in accordance with:

Organic produce certificate

To export organic or biodynamic produce, you must have an organic produce certificate. You will only get this if you sourced your products from a certified supplier.

You must have a certificate for each shipment.

Request your organic produce certificate from an approved certifying organisation.

Step 6: Request an export permit

When your fish products are ready for export, make a Request for Permit (RFP) using our Export Documentation System (EXDOC). An export permit must be obtained before the goods are shipped from Australia.

This can be completed by:

When requesting a permit, you need to select the relevant fish product codes. Product codes are used in customs declarations and to link your permit to the registered establishment.

After an RFP is approved, you will be issued with:

  • an export permit, required for all shipments leaving Australia
  • a health certificate, when required by the importing country.

Fees and charges are payable.

Step 7: Declare your export goods

Check if you need to make a customs export declaration. All prescribed fish goods being exported from Australia must be accurately declared to Customs and issued with an Export Declaration Number (EDN).

Goods not declared to Customs will not be allowed onto the wharf or airport.

Link EXDOC and customs

To link your EXDOC account with the customs system (ICS):

  1. Register your ABN in the customs system.
  2. Apply for access to the EXDOC Single Electronic Window.

Step 8: Export your goods

If you have completed steps 1-7 and your goods meet all requirements, you are now ready to export.

Find more resources for fish exporters.

Last reviewed: 7 June 2021
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