Operating a fish export registered establishment

​​​​​All facilities involved in the production, preparation and storage of prescribed fish products intended for export must be registered with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Establishments that need to register with us include:

  • Australian fish ingredient suppliers
  • freight forwarders
  • manufacturers
  • processors
  • producers
  • storage facilities
  • vessels where product is packed on board for export
  • any establishment where the prescribed goods will be stored and or loaded for export (excluding the wharf and airport terminal).

Registration allows us to assure that your export activities are compliant with requirements under the Export Control Act 1982 and associated legislation.

Establishments that do not need to register include catcher vessels and aquaculture farms that do not pack product for export.

Operators of export registered establishments are responsible for:

  • understanding relevant export legislation
  • complying with all aspects of your approved arrangement, which are subject to ongoing audits
  • issuing all required export documentation
  • meeting domestic licencing requirements
  • meeting importing country requirements.

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Register as an establishment

Registering as a fish export establishment involves:

  • submitting an application to register an export establishment and the approved arrangement you will operate under
  • audit of your application and supporting material, in two stages:

    - desk audit of all application material, including a debt check and fit and proper person check of all staff listed in your approved arrangement
    - onsite audit of your establishment and approved arrangement to confirm details and effective implementation

  • payment of all fees and charges (including annual registration fees)
  • approval of your application, if you have met all requirements.

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 wit​h the department as an exporter through our Export Documentation System (EXDOC)​ to gain export documentation.

Approved arrangements

An approved arrangement (AA) is a documented food safety management system that assures compliance with export legislation and importing country requirements.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • effective internal verification and management review
  • food safety monitoring, controls and corrective action
  • hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plan
  • hygiene and structural standards
  • importing country requirements
  • product traceability, protection from contamination and safe handling of goods
  • staff training, knowledge and skills.

All export registered establishments must operate under an approved arrangement. Your AA will be reviewed as part of:

  • your application to register as an establishment
  • ongoing audits of your establishment.

Documents issued by an export establishment

Manufacturers who are registered as a fish export establishment are responsible for issuing or requesting documentation confirming that a product is eligible for export.

Documents that manufacturers must issue include:

  • Declaration of Compliance, which confirms the specific product is:

    - compliant with export legislation
    - meets all importing country requirements
    - eligible for export generally, or to a specific market.

  • a transfer declaration which is required each time a product is moved from one export registered establishment to another. A transfer declaration is required for both incoming fish products as well as fish goods being dispatched. This requirement does not apply when product is moved from a registered establishment directly to a wharf or airport.

To be eligible for export, fish products must remain in a registered establishment at each step in the export supply chain.

Audit of your establishment

Export establishments are audited by us:

  • when applying to register as an export establishment
  • every 6 or 12 months, to confirm that all details of the approved arrangement are still in place.

Fees and charges apply to all audits we conduct.

New registrations

When you apply to register as an export establishment, we will conduct an onsite audit as part of the assessment of your application.

This audit will involve a check of all management and food safety systems documented in your approved arrangement.

If you are found to be non-compliant during an audit, you will need to:

  • correct any problems found
  • monitor effectiveness of corrective action
  • take all steps to ensure the problem does not reoccur.

Multiple onsite audits may be required before your registration is approved, particularly if your food safety system does not meet export requirements.

Ongoing audits

Ongoing audits are conducted on all registered establishments.

Frequency of audits is:

  • every 6 or 12 months for manufacturers
  • 12 monthly for storage establishments.

These audits verify compliance with your AA, export legislation and applicable importing country requirements.

Scheduled audits of export establishments may vary based on the:

  • type of establishment due to the risks posed by activities at the establishment (manufacturing/storage)
  • history of compliance with your AA
  • investigations and/or complaints.

Deregistering your establishment

You will be notified prior to the end of the financial year that your registration will be automatically renewed at the start of the next financial year.

If you decide to deregister your establishment you will need to submit a request in writing prior to 1 July of the next financial year. If you notify us after this time, your charge will be dependent on how long you maintained registration after 1 July.

Your request must be signed by a person listed as being in management or control of the establishment and sent to Export establishment registration.

To register your establishment again at a later date, you must:

  • submit an application for registration
  • pay the application fees
  • have another onsite audit of your establishment
  • have your AA approved.

If you want to re-register an establishment where a debt is owing, we cannot complete your new registration until all debts are paid in full.