The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources supports seafood exporters to access markets overseas, but other government agencies and industry groups also have a role in exporting from Australia.
If you are involved in exporting seafood, you are responsible for understanding your regulatory obligations.
There are a range of resources available outside of our website that may be useful for your manufacturing and export activities.
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 Customs and Border Protection Service.
The Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding system is generally referred to as the ‘Harmonised System’ (HS). It is a multi-purpose international product classification nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and is used to classify traded products.
The Customs Tariff adds two sets of two digit codes to the six–digit international HS. Australia uses an eight-digit code to classify goods for export. The first six align with international classification standards, while the last two digits are specific to Australian exports.
The classifications are not static and are subject to change. It is very important to keep up-to-date with any changes as they occur. The AHECC is usually updated every January and July and up-to-date versions of the classifications can be found at the ABS Website.
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) or ‘Food Code’ are harmonised international food standards, which protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.
CODEX requirements provide guidance for a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan to meet export requirements.
Food Standards Code
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is developed and administered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand which is a bi-national Government agency.
The Code lists requirements for foods such as:
- food safety
- genetically modified (GM) foods.
Enforcement and interpretation of the Code is the responsibility of state and territory departments and food agencies within Australia and New Zealand.
The Code includes general food, food product, food safety and primary production standards.
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.
SafeFish provides technical advice to support Australia’s seafood trade and market access negotiations and helps to resolve barriers to trade.
They do this by bringing 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 us to consult with the Australian seafood export industry on 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 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation assigns standard fish names in accordance with transparent and rigorous procedures.
To ensure continued legislative compliance with the Australian Fish Names Standard, we may make corresponding changes to our systems for issuing export certification.
Search current list of fish names on the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation website.
State shellfish control 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 control agency websites by state