Legal requirements to access international markets for seafood products

Regulations around food safety and traceability in the seafood trade are very strict. Food safety management systems and traceability systems are mandatory. On top of that, if you want to export seafood products to international markets like European Union or USA your company must be listed in the official registers before the actual export takes place. The competent authority in the Bahamas is the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine which further approves establishments and factory vessels.

Registration

  • Regarding export from Bahamas to the European Union look at the list of approved countries and establishments and refer to section VIII (Fishery products). Under Bahamas you will find a list of companies with request dates.
  • United States importers must send ‘Prior Notice’ to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before the import. For the instructions on the Prior Notice System Interface, see Filing Prior Notice step by step guide. Here you can become familiar with all data you need to submit to your importer.
  • In order to check if special conditions are applicable for seafood you aim to export to Australia you can search Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON). You can search by keyword, scientific name of the fish or by HS code.
  • In order to export to Russian Federation your country must make a request for the approval of a new bilateral veterinary certificate. The list of countries and registered companies can be found on the website of Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russian Federation.
  • Exports to China require some registration steps prior to applying for the specific Chinese health certificates and the Chinese certificate of origin. The registration steps can take some time to complete. For now no companies from Bahamas are registered for the export of seafood in China. This registration information can be submitted by Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources in Bahama to the Chinese Authorities. The current list of registered countries and companies for export of animal food to China can be found on Certification and Accredition Administration (in Chinese language). This registration process must be carried out online by the relevant exporter/agent through Registration Systems of Imported Food and Cosmetic Importers and Exporters.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires a specific health certificate to be used for exports of fishery products. More information can be found on the website of Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Illegal fishing

Fishery products must be caught by approved vessels (wild catch) or must be produced in registered farms (aquaculture). To combat illegal fishing, a catch certificate must accompany fish imported in many importing countries. At the moment, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working on a global catch certificate to ensure responsible fishing throughout the world.

Read more about the catch certificate;

Health certificates

Fishery products need health certificates confirming they meet the standards for export.

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