Consultation On Imported Fish Fillets

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
24 May 2010, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Following requests from the industry for the development of an import health standard to permit the entry of frozen skinless, boneless fish fillets into New Zealand, the government has carried out a risk assessment and proposed health standards for the importation of tilapia and catfishfrom specified countries.

After risk assessment for tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) from China and Brazil, and a consultation process, an import health standard was issued in May 2008. Further risk analysis and consultation for the importation of catfish (Pangasius spp.) from Vietnam resulted in the standard being extended to include this commodity in April 2009.

The original requests for frozen filleted tilapia also included other countries (Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia) that were not included in the original standard, and there has been a prioritised request to add Malaysia to the eligible countries from which frozen filleted catfish can be imported.

From the original risk assessment work, the current measures to mitigate risk are that the tilapia or catfish is processed as skinless boneless fillets, and that the fillets are frozen to -18°C for at least 168 hours (7 days). To expand the eligible country list of the import health standard, the same mitigating measures are deemed appropriate.

Risk assessment work supporting expansion of the country definition to include:

  • Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia for tilapia (Oreochromis spp.), and
  • Malaysia for catfish (Pangasius spp.),

concluded that no new measures are required to import the commodity, as the current level of risk is not affected.

Comments on these draft documents should be forwarded to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) by close of business on 5 July 2010. MAF encourages respondents to forward comments electronically to

The draft documents can be found here: