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Trade measurement laws regulate the retail and wholesale sale of seafood.

Seafood sold by weight

You must sell most seafood, when not pre-packaged, by weight.

Using scales

If you use scales to weigh and sell seafood that isn’t pre-packaged, you must make sure:

  • the National Measurement Institute (NMI) has approved your type of scales and any attached modules (i.e. point of sale system) 
  • a servicing licensee has verified your scales and any attached modules
  • you and your staff use them in the correct manner (e.g. level and indicating zero before use)
  • you position them so that the customer can easily see the weighing process (if not, you must provide a written statement of the weight)
  • you keep them clean and in good working order
  • a servicing licensee verifies them after each repair or adjustment

It is your responsibility to make sure the scale is correct at all times.

We recommend that you have all your scales used for trade checked regularly by a technician licensed by NMI (servicing licensee). For a list of servicing licensees, email tmlicensees@measurement.gov.au.

Pre-packaged seafood

You must sell all pre-packaged seafood, except oysters, by weight.

If you sell pre-packaged seafood, you must:

  • label each package with the weight of the seafood
  • label each package with the name and address of the packer (unless you pack them on the same premises where you sell them) 
  • only display the net weight of the seafood (do not include the weight of any packaging)

You should print weight statements either on labels attached to the package or directly on the package itself. When you pack and sell seafood on the same premises, you can hand-write the statement.

The weight statement must be:

  • clear to read, at least 2 mm from the edge of the principal display panel and at least 2 mm from other graphics
  • in the same direction as the brand or product name
  • in a colour that provides a distinct contrast with the colour of the background

In addition, if the packages are not all the same weight, you must mark the total price and price per kilogram either:

  • on the package in the same format as the weight statement
  • immediately adjacent to the package in characters at least 10 mm high

Read the Guide to the sale of pre-packaged goods to find out more.

Pre-packaged frozen seafood

On the weight statement on pre-packaged frozen seafood, you must:

  • refer to the net weight of the seafood
  • not include the weight of any external water or ice glaze
  • not use the terms ‘gross mass’ or ‘gross weight’

Trade measurement inspectors use the Frozen Fish Method to determine if pre-packaged frozen seafood has been accurately labelled. Read about this process in Clause 7.9 of the National Test Procedure (NTP) - Sampling and Test Procedures for Prepackaged Products [1.2MB PDF] [807KB DOCX].

We do not apply the Frozen Fish Method to fish products either:

  • frozen in a marinade
  • formed by plate freezing with no ice water glaze

Pre-packaged oysters 

You can sell pre-packaged oysters by number. You must mark the packaging with the accurate count, except when the package:

  • is transparent
  • contains fewer than 9 items

Regulating the sale of seafood

The National Measurement Act 1960 and the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009 regulate how seafood is sold using measurement.

We employ trade measurement inspectors throughout Australia. We inspect seafood being sold to ensure that sellers are following the correct process.

If an inspector finds that you are short-measuring your customers, we can fine you up to $210,000 per offence.

If you have concerns about how someone is selling seafood, contact the NMI hotline on 1300 686 664 or email infotm@measurement.gov.au.

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Last updated: 18 June 2019

Content ID: 52558