Audits of fish export establishments

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources audits export registered establishments to verify the procedures documented in their Approved Arrangement (AA) and assure compliance with export legislation.

Audit frequency

For fish establishments, audit frequency is determined by the type of registered establishment. Establishments undertaking higher risk operations are audited more frequently.

For example, a manufacturing establishment is audited more frequently than an establishment that only stores product.

Additional audits

Establishments may be subject to additional audits:

  • as a result of sanctions
  • to support an importing country review
  • to verify that action has been taken to address non-compliance.

Audit scope and outcome

Audits are conducted against a defined scope, made up of all or some topics covered in the establishment’s approved arrangement (AA).

The audit checks and verifies that the controls for each requirement in the AA are in place and effective. All parts of an establishment’s export operations are documented in the establishment’s AA and each topic is audited at least once a year.

If a requirement within the AA is found to be non-compliant, the auditor will issue the establishment with a Corrective Action Request. The establishment must rectify all Corrective Action Requests within a timeframe agreed by the auditor.

Additional sanctions and/or audits may be conducted as a result of non-compliance.

Table 1: Risk and audit frequencies for fish establishments

Type of establishment

Risk

Audit frequency

  • Fish storage establishments—dry, cool and freezer stores
  • Establishments that freeze fish products
  • Establishments that hold and pack live fish (other than bivalve molluscs)
  • Fishing vessels

Low

Annual

  • Establishments that manufacture fish products intended to be cooked or further processed prior to consumption

Medium

Annual

  • Fish establishments that manufacture ready-to-eat products
  • Establishments that prepare bivalve molluscs

High

6 monthly

For establishments with operations in more than one risk category, the higher audit frequency applies.

Audits are given an acceptable or unacceptable outcome and the establishment is issued with a full audit report following the audit.

Sanctions

In addition to an increase in frequency of audits, other sanctions may be applied depending on specific circumstances. These sanctions include, but are not limited to:

  • additional conditions and restrictions on processing
  • suspension or revocation of registration
  • withdrawal of export services.