The second edition of the Harmonized System Codes for fishery and aquaculture products

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By Milthon Lujan

The second edition of the Harmonized System Codes for fishery and aquaculture products
The second edition of the Harmonized System Codes for fishery and aquaculture products

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) published the second edition of the Harmonized System Codes for fishery and aquaculture products, based on the Nomenclature of the year 2022.

Product classification is a key element in international trade. The World Customs Organization’s Harmonized System provides an internationally recognized product classification system.

The new document is based on the Harmonized System: Nomenclature 2022 edition. It presents all possible classifications for fishery and aquaculture products by species, with a complete description of each code to facilitate their use within the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

The publication does not modify the structure of the Harmonized System or alter the grouping of species, as it is an auxiliary tool to facilitate classification and enhance understanding of the system from the perspective of fishery and aquaculture products.

Harmonized System

The Harmonized System is an important tool for trade negotiations, enabling countries to negotiate trade agreements using a common language for products at the multilateral, regional, or bilateral levels.

The nomenclature structure of the Harmonized System allows for the classification of any product under a unique six-digit code.

The system is built in layers: sections, chapters, headings, and subheadings.

Chapters (two digits) describe broad product categories, while headings (four digits) group related products, and subheadings (six digits) list the actual products.

Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood are one of the most complex commodities to classify. There is a multitude of phyla, species, and treatments, creating an intricate set of different layers covering different products and making it particularly challenging to classify.

How to Use the Manual

The document includes products classified under the following chapters of the Harmonized System:

  • Chapter 3: Fish and crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates.
  • Chapter 5: Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.
  • Chapter 12: Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds, and fruits; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder.
  • Chapter 13: Lac; gums, resins, and other vegetable saps and extracts.
  • Chapter 15: Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes.
  • Chapter 16: Preparations of meat, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, or other aquatic invertebrates.
  • Chapter 23: Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder.

Furthermore, the document is divided into three sections:

  • First Section: Presents all species that are directly referenced in the Harmonized System, with codes for all possible classifications of their products and treatments. This section is useful for finding the classification of a product based on the common name of the species.
  • Second Section: Lists all Harmonized System codes for fishery and aquaculture products with a detailed description of each code. This section is useful for searching for the code of a product.
  • Third Section: Includes photos of the most important commercial species. Each image contains relevant information and specific characteristics of each species: scientific name, FAO name, main features, and distribution.


It is important to note that the Harmonized System Manual published by FAO and WCO does not include product classifications for mammals such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans); manatees and dugongs (sirenians); seals, sea lions, and walruses (pinnipeds).

The information presented in the Harmonized System Codes for fishery and aquaculture products was compiled by FAO staff, and users are encouraged to report any errors or deficiencies to FAO GLOBEFISH (

Reference (open access)
FAO & WCO. 2023. HS Codes for fisheries and aquaculture products – Harmonized System. Nomenclature 2022. Second edition, updated and expanded. Rome and Brussels.

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