Risk Management Programmes (RMPs) for seafood

Only some seafood businesses are required to operate under an RMP. These range from factory vessels to some processing premises and stores (cold and dry).

An RMP is a written programme designed by each operator to manage biological, chemical and physical hazards so that all product traded and used is ’fit for intended purpose' by meeting the appropriate New Zealand animal product standards.

The Animal Products Act 1999 requires all primary processors of seafood – as well as other kinds of animal material – to operate under an RMP. However, the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000 exempts some seafood operators from this requirement.

Seafood processors who require an RMP

If your business is listed here, you must operate under an RMP:

  • fishing vessels which want to fillet fish on board
  • land-based seafood processing premises that undertake primary processing and sell fish only by wholesale
  • processing premises that handle any seafood products that will be exported with an official assurance (export certificate)
  • rendering operations that process any seafood for animal consumption
  • stores (cold and dry) that handle any seafood products that will be exported with an official assurance.

Some Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish (BMS) businesses also require an RMP:

  • depuration premises
  • land-based wet storage premises
  • processors handling any BMS products that will be exported with an official assurance (export certificate).

Seafood operators exempt from needing an RMP

Some fish processors are exempt from operating under an RMP. These are:

  • inshore vessels which don’t fillet fish on board
  • Limited Processing Fishing Vessels (LPFVs) that operate under the Regulated Control Scheme (RCS)
  • fish farmers
  • fish retailers
  • fish depots
  • whitebait harvesters
  • fish-related tourist ventures.

These exemptions are specified in the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000.

New Zealand's exclusive economic zone – fish that do not need an RMP

If you take fish from New Zealand's exclusive economic zone, you may not need an RMP. To be excluded under the Animal Products Act, you need to ensure that:

  • the fish are not landed in New Zealand
  • the fish or fish products are not claimed to be New Zealand products.

This RMP exemption is provided under clause 4 of the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000.

RMP template for filleting fish on inshore fishing vessels

There are different RMP requirements depending on whether you are selling the filleted fish to the New Zealand market or preparing them for export.

MPI and the Seafood Standards Council have published an RMP template for filleted fish intended for the New Zealand market. This helps you to prepare your RMP. The template does not cover requirements for exporting fish that have been filleted on board your vessel.

If you wish to export filleted fish, you must have a fully customised and registered RMP in place.

The RMP template, application form, guidelines, approval notice and background information are provided by the following link.

Find more RMP information

RMP information that applies to all industries, such as how to register or change an RMP and how to get your RMP verified can be found in the General requirements & programmes section of this website.