Fish Filleting on Inshore Vessels

New RMP Enables Fish Filleting Onboard For NZ Market

The NZ Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and the fishing industry have developed new guidelines and a rish management programme template to allow inshore fishing vessels operators to fillet fish on board, for sale on the NZ market.

NZSFA senior advisor Janet Young says the template was developed after NZFSA learned that some inshore fishing vessels were filleting fish on board to sell in NZ without registered risk management programmes in place.

"Filleting fish at sea is classified as primary processing. Under the Animal Products Act 1999, primary processors of animal products intended for human consumption must operate under a registered risk management programme (RMP). We wanted to make sure that fishing vessel operators were able to easily comply with the law, as well as produce a safe and suitable product."

To help inshore vessel operators who wish to fillet fish on board, NZFSA and the Seafood Standards Council have published a RMP template. Guidelines explain the process and help fishing vessel operators complete the RMP template which has been largely pre-written to minimise compliance requirements.

Janet Young says the RMP template helps operators produce fish that is fit for its intended purpose.

"An RMP ensures operators have documented process to identify and reduce hazards to human health, avoid false or misleading labelling, and ensure the wholesomeness of the product."

The new RMP template covers filleting of fish, storage of whole and live fish and limited processing which includes heading, gutting, and tailing. It applies to onboard filleting of fish only if the filleted product is sold in NZ. Operators cannot export filleted fish produced under this RMP. Operators of vessels who carry out primary processing at sea for export must have a full customised registered RMP in place.

Operators who wish to fillet fish on board their vessel and sell the filleted fish in NZ can obtain registration by sending a completed RMP template and other required information to NZFSA.

Further information, application forms and a copy of the template are available on NZFSA's website