Fish and fishery products

Fishery products are defined in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin:

‘Fishery products’ means all seawater or freshwater animals (except for live bivalve molluscs, live echinoderms, live tunicates and live marine gastropods, and all mammals, reptiles and frogs) whether wild or farmed and including all edible forms, parts and products of such animals.

Examples of fishery products are ungutted fish, filleted fish, smoked fish, cooked crayfish or canned fish.

Labelling of fish

Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council) requires

  • the commercial designation of the species and its scientific name
  • the production method
  • the catch area and
  • type of fishing gear labelling when selling fishery and aquaculture products to the final consumer and mass caterer.
  • If the product has been defrosted, it must also be indicated subject to certain derogations (below).

Member States shall establish a list of agreed commercial designations for names for fishery and aquaculture products accepted in their territory. The commercial designations accepted in Finland are laid down by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree (1158/2018, amendments 108/2021, 470/2020).

The labelling obligation applies to fish sold fresh or frozen (as well as whole fish and fish fillets, etc.), crustaceans and molluscs, dried, salted, smoked and char grilled fish (fish fillets, etc.), crustaceans and molluscs. Similarly, the labelling obligation applies to marine invertebrates other than crustaceans and molluscs. Likewise, it also applies to flours, meals and pellets made of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates. The labelling obligation also extends to seaweed and other algae.

On the other hand, the labelling obligation does not apply to processed fish products or to the fish ingredients contained therein or foods made from fish, such as fish soup or fish salad. However, the country of origin of the fish must be indicated IF the country of origin (or place of provenance) of the food (e.g. perch soup) is indicated in words, pictograms, etc. and IF it differs from the country of origin (or place of provenance) of the primary ingredient (perch) of the food. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/775 provides for the indication of the country of origin of the primary ingredient of a food. The Commission has published guidance on the application of the Regulation. More information on the Finnish Food Authority's website:

Country of origin of the primary food ingredient 

The method of production

must be indicated with one of the following options

  • caught (caught at sea)
  • caught in fresh water
  • farmed.

Catch area

  • The name of the main catch area is usually sufficient to indicate the catch area of fish caught at sea. Where the fish was caught in the Northeast Atlantic (FAO 27), the Mediterranean or the Black Sea (FAO 37), the name of the subarea (e.g. Western Mediterranean (37.1) or division e.g. Sardinia (37.1.3) must be indicated. In addition, the name must be expressed in terms understandable to the consumer or as a map or pictogram showing that zone. This replaces the name of the major fishing area.
  • The FAO list of major fishing areas (2-digit number), subareas and divisions (ICES) can be found on the FAO website: 
  • EU sea areas: 
  • For catches in freshwater, the country of origin and the water body must be indicated in terms of the name of the river or lake, etc.
  • For farmed fishery products, the country of farming where the final rearing of the product took place is indicated.

Type of fishing gear (fishery products)

The type of gear used for fishing must be indicated. The types of fishing gear are described in Annex III of Commission Regulation 379/2013 and are:

  • Seines
  • Trawls
  • Gillnets and similar nets
  • Surrounding nets and lift nets
  • Hooks and lines
  • Dredges
  • Pots and traps.

Whether the product has been defrosted

If the fishery or aquaculture product has been frozen before sale and is sold defrosted, this must be indicated, for example, by the words “Defrosted. Do not re-freeze after defrosting”. This requirement shall not apply to the following:

  1. ingredients present in the final product
  2. foods for which freezing is a technologically necessary step of the production process
  3. fishery and aquaculture products previously frozen for health safety purposes in accordance with Annex III, Section VIII of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004
  4. fishery and aquaculture products which have been defrosted before the process of smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, drying or a combination of any of those processes.

Date of catch or harvest

Informing the consumer of the date of catch or harvest  of fresh fish is voluntary.

Additional labelling for fish belonging to the family Gempylidae (Commission Regulation (EC) No 1020/2008 amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council)

In the list of commercial names of Finnish fishery and aquaculture products, the only species of fish in the family Gempylidae is Lepidocybium flavobrunneum, the name of which Finnish is “eskolaari” (escolar). Escolar may only be sold packaged. Additional labelling such as the following is required on the packaging: “Because escolar is high in indigestible fat, the ingestion of which can cause gastrointestinal symptoms (including steatorrhea), it must be cooked (e.g. by grilling) to remove the fat from the fish. Fat from the fish must not be used to make sauce.”

Other labelling

In addition, general mandatory particulars in accordance with Article 9 of the Food Information Regulation are required for the packaging of fishery products Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011). Nutrition labelling is not mandatory information in unprocessed fishery products. The date of freezing must be placed on packaged, frozen and unprocessed fishery products (Article 26, point 6 of Annex III). Other mandatory additional information (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree 818/2012) must additionally be taken into account in the case of frozen foods.

The national regulation  (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree  834/2014) lays down, among other things, the language in which labelling should be given and batch marking.

Where appropriate, the high salt content  of the food should be indicated in packages of fishery products (dried, salted, smoked, char grilled) Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree 1010/2014).

Packaged products leaving establishments shall bear an identification mark Regulation (EC) No 853/2004).

Labelling of non-prepacked fishery products

For non-prepacked fishery and aquaculture products, the mandatory information listed (commercial name and scientific name of the species, the production method, catch area, type of fishing gear and, where appropriate, indication of defrosting) may be indicated in retail sale by means of commercial information such as billboards or posters.

A pocket guide to the information required for fishery products has been published on the Commission website (DG Sante:

A pocket guide to the EU's new fish and aquaculture consumer labels - Publications Office of the European Union ( (in Finnish and other EU languages)

Page last updated 1/3/2022