The generation of the SafeFish work program includes a systematic approach to capturing and identifying issues (existing and emerging), prioritizing the issues, and undertaking technical work to provide potential solutions to overcome technical barriers.

Identification of Issues affecting Australian Seafood

The following sources of information and data are scrutinized by the Secretariat annually to identify emerging and existing issues that affect the Australian seafood industry:

  • Recently published scientific and regulatory literature;
  • Trade databases containing statistics on rejections/detentions of seafood from key trading partners;
  • International human illness outbreaks related to seafood consumption;
  • Advice from industry trade groups (e.g. Seafood Trade Advisory Group STAG, Seafood Importers Association etc.)
  • Advice from industry and regulatory stakeholders;
  • Advice from SafeFish partners;
  • Advice through Codex forum and new international seafood risk management policies.

Following this process, a list of issues is generated which is then filtered by the Secretariat and SafeFIsh partners to only include those that fall within the scope of the program (parameters used to determine this include: food safety related; cost to facilitate work; threats to trade; and remit of the SafeFish platform). The resulting list of issues is then included in the prioritisation process specified below:

Prioritisation Process

A comprehensive prioritisation process to fully scope and rank the issues identified is coordinated by the Secretariat every three-years, this entails the following:

  • The secretariat scopes each issue that has been identified. The scoping document includes a description of the issue, outlines who it affects, provides existing trade and market access data that is available, as well as specifies the public health, economic, environmental, reputational and regulatory implications).
  • A prioritisation workshop (facilitated by the independent consultant) involving key stakeholders (partnership members, technical & industry expert/(s), panel members and other relevant parties) is then held to rank the issues based on pre-set criteria. This determines the issues with the highest priorities and these form the technical work program for the next period. 

The following hazard identification reports have been produced for use throughout this process:

On the interim years, a smaller in-house process is facilitated by the Secretariat and involves the following:

  • The SafeFish partners are provided with a list of issues that were identified as high priority at the last comprehensive prioritisation process, but have not yet had technical research completed to resolve them.
  • Emerging issues not already captured are identified using the process documented above.
  • A scoping document (using the same parameters as above) is developed for any emerging issues that were identified
  • A meeting is called with all partners and relevant stakeholders where a brief overview of each issue being prioritised is given. Following this, each participant is asked to determine a priority value the issues (and rank them from highest to lowest priority e.g. 1 to 5 etc.). The Secretariat will document each individual vote as a record of the process.
  • Following this, the technical work program for the next period will be generated.