The requirements for exporting shrimps to Europe

Shrimps can only be exported to the EU if they:

  • Come from an authorised country
  • The country of origin must appear on the list of countries which can export fishery products to the EU. This list is based on an assessment by the EU Food and Veterinary Office for compliance with European health standards for fishery products.
  • Are caught by approved vessels (wild shrimps) or were produced in registered farms (aquaculture)
  • Shrimps can only be imported into the EU if they have been dispatched from, obtained or prepared in approved establishments (cold store, processing plant, factory or freezer vessels), so these facilities must be inspected and approved by your government (Ministry of Agriculture, Health, Commerce, etc).
  • Are accompanied by the proper health certificates
  • Shrimps need a health certificate confirming they meet the standards for export to the EU. This certificate is delivered by your government following a harmonised template.

See My export for the lists of approved countries and establishments, as well as samples of certificates.


Specific limits exist for heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury), dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

For aquaculture shrimps, there are controls on veterinary medicine residues.

Countries must submit an annual residue monitoring plan to the EU and have it approved to export aquaculture products to the EU market. See My export for detailed information on the residue monitoring plan.

Illegal fishing

To help combat illegal fishing, marine fishery products entering the EU require a catch certificate proving that international conservation and management rules were respected. Certificates must be:

  • Submitted to European authorities several days before the exported product reaches the EU.
  • Validated by the fishing vessel’s national authority.

Fish-exporting countries must carry out regular checks to ensure their fishing vessels comply with conservation laws. Non-European fishing vessels must carry out landing or transshipment operations at designated ports in Europe. See My export for the list of ports.

Food labelling in general

General food information to consumers applies to all food marketed in the EU and establishes the information that products have to display when sold to the final consumer or to a mass caterer.

Labels must be visible, legible, non-erasable, and clearly worded in a language easily understood by consumers. Usually this means in the official language(s) of the European country where the product is marketed. You may use foreign terms or expressions if they will be easily understood by consumers.

All food labels must display:

  • The name under which the product is sold. A trademark, brand name or fancy name may be used in addition to the generic name. You must also include the product's physical condition or specific treatment undergone, if its omission could be misleading for consumers.
  • The list of ingredients, including additives and added water. These should be listed in descending order according to weight.
  • An ingredient must be expressed as a percentage if it appears in the name of the food, is emphasised on the labelling, and/or is an essential characteristic of the food product.
  • There is an exception for foods consisting of a single ingredient, where the name of the food is identical to the name of the ingredient or allows consumers to easily identify the nature of the ingredient.
  • You must always indicate any substances that might cause allergic reactions.
  • For prepacked products, allergens should appear in a typeset that clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the ingredient list. If no list of ingredients exists, allergens should be indicated as follows: 'contains…'If the product has the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion, fillet, or whole fishery product and water makes up more than 5% of it, the added water must be shown in the name of the food.
  • Net quantity (weight, volume in metric units) of prepackaged foodstuffs. This must be expressed in grams or kilograms. The drained net weight of the food must be shown if some food is present in a liquid form (including if this liquid is frozen in any way, e.g. sauces or glazes).
  • Minimum durability date.
  • All prepacked products must display the best before date in the format: "best before DD/MM/YYYY"
  • If the product is highly perishable, it should instead display the 'use by' date.
  • Non-prepacked products, products packed for direct sale or at the consumer's request are subject to the national rules of the EU country stipulating whether the 'best before' or 'use by' date should be displayed.
  • Any special conditions for storage or use.
  • The name or business name and address of the manufacturer, packager, or seller established in the EU. If not in the EU, the name and address of the importer must be shown.
  • Identification marks, including the name of the origin country and the approval number of the production establishment. When it is produced in the EU, the abbreviation EC (or its translation in another EU language) must also be shown.
  • Place of origin or provenance, where its omission could be misleading for consumers.
  • Lot markingon pre-packaged foodstuffs. Format: "L..."
  • Instructions for use, if needed.
  • If any protein has been added, the name of the food must indicate this as well as the animal origin of the extra protein.

Specific labelling for fishery and aquaculture products

Certain fishery and aquaculture products – covered by headings 0301-0307 and 1212 21 00 - are subject to more specific labelling requirements than those that apply to food in general.

Labels on shrimps that fall under heading 0306 must present the following information:

  • Commercial designation and scientific name of the species. See the commercial designations accepted in each EU Member States.
  • The production method, using official terminology ('caught…', 'caught in freshwater…', or 'farmed…'). Mixed products of the same species must display the production method for each batch.
  • Catch area:
    • At sea: One of the areas internationally identified by the FAO must appear (FAO areas – full list). Any fish caught in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean/Black seas must display the name of the sub-area or division in which they were caught. In addition, this must be accompanied by an easily-understandable name or a map or a pictogram.
    • Freshwater: Both the body of water (river, lake, etc.) and the country of origin must be named.
    • Aquaculture: Farmed fish must display the country of origin.
    • Mixed: Products caught in different catch areas or fish farming countries must display the area/county that represents the majority of the batch, as well as indicate that the products come from different countries.
  • The fishing gear used to catch the fish. Wild fish must display one of the following categories:
    • seines
    • trawls
    • gillnets and similar nets
    • surrounding nets and lift nets
    • hooks and lines
    • dredges
    • pots and traps
  • Mixed products of the same species caught with different categories of fishing gear must display the gear category for each batch.
  • If the product has been defrosted. This information must accompany the commercial name for pre-packed products. For non-prepacked products, this information must be shown at least on billboards or posters. It is not necessary if the fish/aquaculture products:
    • are ingredients in the final product
    • were previously frozen for health and safety purposes
    • were defrosted before smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, drying, or a mixture of such
    • are foods where freezing is a technologically necessary step

If any unprocessed product has been frozen, it must be indicated as follows: 'Frozen on day/month/year'. In case the product has been frozen more than once, the date of first freezing must be displayed.
Any fish product consisting of fish pieces combined by other ingredients (e.g. enzymes) to give the impression of a whole piece of fish needs to be indicated by the phrase 'formed fish.'

Nutrition Declaration

Suppliers will need to provide nutrition information, including the energy value, fat content, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt per 100g or per 100 ml.

Nutrition information can also be expressed as 'per portion' or as a percentage of the 'reference intake' in addition to the two methods described above.

Marketing standards

Products of the species Crangon crangon & Pandalus borealis must also comply with specific marketing standards in order to be marketed in the EU.

Labels placed on lots must display:

  • country of origin in Latin script at least 20 mm high
  • scientific name and trade name
  • presentation, freshness and size categories
  • net weight in kg
  • date of grading and date of dispatch
  • name and address of exporter.

Lots must contain products of the same size and uniform freshness. The freshness category, size category and presentation must be clearly and indelibly marked on labels affixed to the lot.