China (People's Republic of) - Export requirements for fish and seafood
On this page
- Eligible/ineligible product
- Pre-export approvals by competent authority of importing country
- Product specifications
- Packaging, labeling and marking requirements
- Documentation requirements
- Other information
- Appendix A - Request for addition to the list of eligible countries (areas) and aquatic products approved for exporting to China
- All fish and seafood products except edible seal products
- Edible seal products
Pre-export approvals by competent authority of importing country
China Decrees 248 and 249
- As of January 1, 2022, food establishments that manufacture, process or store foods (cold or dry storages) must be registered with China's General Administration of Customs China (GACC) prior to export to China.
- Certain types of foods have been classified by GACC as "high risk" or "medium risk". All other foods are considered by GACC to be "low risk". Note: fish and seafood products are classified by GACC as "high risk" foods.
- Establishments that only ship live fish and seafood products do not need to appear in GACC's establishment list in the China import Food Enterprise Registration (CIFER) system at this time.
- Establishments wishing to be on GACC's eligibility list in the CIFER system must be licensed under and in compliance with all aspects of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), as well as meet China's regulatory requirements. All food establishments, including cold and dry storage warehouses, are also subject to Preventive Control Plan (PCP) requirements under the SFCR.
- CFIA advises that food establishments may be subject to audits by GACC at any time. CFIA anticipates that the objective of GACC auditors will be to verify compliance with China's regulatory requirements.
CIFER profiles (also called accounts)
- To be eligible to export fish and seafood to China for human consumption, all fish establishments, including fishing vessels (involved in the production and processing of fish), and cold or dry storage warehouses must:
- have an account (a profile) in the CIFER online system operated by GACC
- have their account in CIFER "certified" by CFIA in order to be able to submit an application for registration
- be individually approved by GACC, including the registration of their products, in CIFER
Registration and other processes in CIFER
- All applications for registration, modification, cancellation, and renewal must be submitted in CIFER by the establishment to the CFIA for review. The CFIA will forward the request to GACC for final approval when the CFIA's review of the application is complete or will return the application to the establishment for amendments if required. GACC conducts its own reviews and approvals, the timelines for GACC's review and approval processes are not known.
- When an establishment that is already on the list undergoes a name change, the documentation and labelling must identify the previous legal name, as recorded on the list in CIFER, until such time as the list is officially amended.
- CFIA is unable to implement any changes to the CIFER system or processes.
Verifying establishment registration in CIFER
- A list of all registered enterprises can be found in the CIFER query system.
- All products produced, manufactured, processed, or stored by establishments prior to export to China must be added to establishment profile/account in CIFER.
- Once establishments add their food products to their profile/account they must submit a complete application package in CIFER for CFIA review and GACC approval. GACC approval leads to registration of the requested additional products in CIFER.
List of fish and seafood products eligible to be exported to China
- The names and processing methods of products must be on the List of Eligible Countries (Areas) and Aquatic Products Approved for Exporting to China.
- This list is implemented by the General Administrations of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC) and their China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) branches at ports of entry.
- To add a product to this list, establishments are asked to provide the following information to their local CFIA office: product name (scientific, common), processing method (live, fresh/chilled, frozen, fish roe, fish oil, etc.), production method, territorial waters, country of origin, estimated annual production in Canada and estimated annual shipment to China.
- See Appendix A for more details.
- Exporters are encouraged to confirm with Chinese importers that products are on this list prior to shipment.
Note: the List of Canadian Establishments Approved for Export to China, is kept for reference only. Up-to-date establishments lists will be kept in the CIFER system as of January 1, 2022.
- List of Canadian Establishments Approved for Export to the People's Republic of China - XLSX (72 kb). (Archived)
Maximum levels for chemical contaminants
- Lead: 0.5 ppm
- Inorganic arsenic: 0.1 ppm for finfish / 0.5 ppm for all other fish
- Cadmium: 0.1 ppm (finfish only)
- Total PCB: 2.0 ppm (sum of PCB congeners #28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153 and 180)
- PCB 138: 0.5 ppm
- PCB 153: 0.5 ppm
Maximum levels for therapeutants and antibiotics
|Crystal violet (and Leucocrystal violet)||Aquaculture and wild caught fresh water fish||None detected|
|Malachite Green (and Leucomalachite Green)||Aquaculture and wild caught fresh water fish||None detected|
|Terramycin||Not specified||0.1 mg/kg muscle (1 mg/kg = 1 ppm)|
Packaging, labeling and marking requirements
As of January 1, 2022:
- The inner and outer packaging should have strong, clear, and legible Chinese and English or Chinese and export country (region) text marks, indicating the following:
- name of the goods and scientific name
- production date
- lot number
- shelf life
- storage conditions
- production method (seawater fishing, freshwater fishing, aquaculture)
- production area (ocean fishing areas, freshwater fishing countries or regions, countries or regions where the aquaculture products are located)
- all production and processing enterprises involved (including fishing vessels, processing vessels, and transport vessels and an independent cold store) name, registration number and address (specific to the state/province/city)
- the destination must be marked as the People's Republic of China
- For aquatic products entering directly into the domestic consumer market the labeling requirements must be implemented item by item.
- For products not entering directly into the domestic consumer market (including raw materials for processing and re-export), pallets, containers and shipping cabins may be used as independent packaging units to indicate the labeling requirements.
- Liners of fish and seafood products do not require labelling as per the Decree requirements.
Note: the packaging and labelling requirements of foods produced before January 1, 2022, shall follow the original requirements that were in place prior to the implementation of Decrees 248 and 249.
Establishment Registration Number on packaging:
- Fish and seafood products produced on or after January 1, 2022, shall be marked on the inner and outer packaging with China's registration number or the CFIA unique establishment number.
- It is the responsibility of exporters to communicate with their importers in China to ensure that the packaging, labelling and marking meet the Chinese import requirements.
Note: exporters are responsible for ensuring that the establishment is eligible to ship the products being certified. Exporters may contact their local CFIA office for information on how to add additional products if they want to ship products that they are not currently approved for in CIFER.
For fresh and frozen products including bivalve molluscan shellfish:
Health Certificate for Fishery products intended for export from Canada to the People's Republic of China (CFIA/ACIA 5328)
The following information must be included on the certificate:
- the appropriate CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) operational area, that is to say, Atlantic Canada, Quebec Canada, Ontario Canada, or Western Canada, under Section 11(2). Origin of fishery products, "Production Place"
- for all caught fish, the name and registration or licence numberFootnote 1 of one of the fishing vessels used to harvest the fish as well as the FAO fishing area
- for all aquacultured fish, the name and address of one of the fish farms where the fish were raised
- under Section II(2): Origin of the fishery products, "Name(s), registration/licence number(s) and address(es) of all producing and processing enterprise(s), factory vessel(s), cold store(s) or freezer vessel(s) registered by the CFIA for export to the People's Republic of China".
- For example, if a product was processed at one establishment and then stored at a cold store, both facilities would need to be identified on the certificate.
For live product, including live bivalve molluscan shellfish:
Origin and Hygiene Certificate for live fish intended for export for human consumption from Canada to the People's Republic of China (CFIA/ACIA 5584)
The following information must be included on the certificate:
- for all live bivalve molluscs, the fishing area and the harvest area under Section 11(2). "Origin of the fishery products, in the space under the heading "Fishing Region". For Canadian harvest areas, the harvest areas as they appear on the List of Canadian commercial bivalve harvest areas must be indicated.
- for live crab harvested in FAO Area 67, the sub-area under Section 11(2). "Origin of the fishery products", in the space under the heading "Fishing Region". For example, instead of FAO Area 67, indicate FAO Area 67 (British Columbia, Oregon, Washington or Alaska).
- under Section II(2): Origin of the fishery products "Name(s), registration/licence number(s) and address(es) of all applicable producing and processing enterprise(s), factory vessel(s), cold store(s) or freezer vessel(s) registered by the CFIA for export to the People's Republic of China".
- For example, if a product was processed at one establishment and then stored at a cold store, then both facilities would need to be identified on the certificate.
Further information on import requirements can be obtained from the General Administrations of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC).
Appendix A - Request for addition to the list of eligible countries (areas) and aquatic products approved for exporting to China
|Common name||Scientific name||Class||Order||Family||Genus||Species||Processing method||Production method
(wild or culture)
(sea water or fresh water)
|Country of origin||Estimated annual production in Canada (tonnes)||Estimated annual shipment to China (tonnes)|
- Date modified: