UK seafood facing more export hurdles

FURTHER big changes are coming this year in the way the UK seafood sector trades with Europe, Seafish, the industry watchdog has said.

Seafish experts have pulled together what companies can now expect. It says Seafood businesses have been adapting to trade with the EU since the end of the EU exit transition 12 months ago, but additional changes will affect importers and exporters during 2022.

Businesses exporting seafood to the EU have up to now been compliant with EU rules. But from this Saturday (Jan 15th) EU animal health rules are changing.

The process of exporting into Europe is the same but a different Export Health Certificate (EHC) is now in use on the government portal.

Export Health Certificates certify that goods must meet the EU human and animal health requirements. The purpose is to protect human health and animal health from disease carried on imported foods.

· EHC 8270 (Fishery products intended for human consumption) is replaced with EHC 8361 (Live fish, live crustaceans and their products for human consumption).

· EHC 8249 (Live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates, gastropods intended for human consumption) is replaced with EHC 8364 (Live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates, gastropods and their products intended for human consumption).

These new certificates do not just replicate the old certificates. They introduce many changes which businesses need to become familiar with. Most of the changes relate to information needed to improve traceability and biosecurity. There are more significant changes for aquaculture businesses.

Scallops and processed shellfish are reclassified from ‘Fishery products’ to ‘Live bivalve molluscs and their products’. This brings these products in the scope of greater disease controls.

There is a new rule intended to control the spread of animal disease. Certain species are ‘listed’ as being at risk of carrying disease, or a ‘vector’ for the disease of another species. These ‘listed’ and ‘vector’ species must be inspected and certified as disease free by an official veterinarian before export to the EU.

This new rule will not apply where there is no risk of the spread of disease such as:-

  • any wild caught product landed by a fishing vessel;
  • non-listed and non-vector bivalves mollusc species;
  • any bivalve mollusc products (dead/processed) for direct human consumption, wrapping or packing. For example, not for further processing as the waste could spread disease;
  • gastropod, tunicate and echinoderm species, exported alive or dead.
  • Oysters and other live bivalve molluscs are covered by a new export health certificate.

Seafish added: “There is a difference for seafood packaged in the EU which passes through Great Britain to another EU country without further processing. These products cannot use the certificates listed above, as they require some processing to have occurred. A new EHC 8461 is available for these products. “