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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Aquaculture animals & products — health rules

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Aquaculture animals & products — health rules


Directive 2006/88/EC — health requirements for aquaculture animals and products, and prevention and control of diseases in aquatic animals



  • It sets out:
    • animal health requirements for the sale, import or transit of aquaculture animals (farmed fish and shellfish);
    • minimum measures to increase general awareness and prevent disease;
    • minimum measures in the event of a suspected, or established, outbreak of disease.


  • EU countries’ national authorities must ensure that each fish farm is authorised.
  • To receive their authorisation, fish farms must:
    • keep records of all fish and shellfish moved into and out of the premises;
    • demonstrate high standards of hygiene;
    • operate a risk-based animal health surveillance scheme to detect diseases and any increased levels of mortality.
  • National authorities must maintain an up-to-date and publicly available register of authorised fish farms.
  • The legislation sets out a list of diseases and the species susceptible to them.
  • Disease prevention measures must be in place when aquaculture animals are transported.
  • Farmed fish and shellfish must be healthy. They require an animal health certificate when offered for sale.
  • Imported fish and shellfish must comply with EU animal health requirements. The EU may decide to inspect the farms they come from.
  • Fish farm owners and vets must immediately report any increase in mortality or suspicions of a disease to the relevant authority.
  • National authorities must notify other EU countries and the European Commission as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein within 24 hours of a disease being confirmed.
  • If a disease is suspected, control measures are taken, such as conducting laboratory tests and placing the farm in quarantine.
  • When a disease is confirmed, the authorities:
    • officially declare the farm is infected;
    • establish a containment area, with protection and surveillance zones;
    • ban the restocking and movement of the fish and shellfish.
  • EU countries must satisfy specific requirements before being given disease-free status.
  • Commission experts, accompanied by national officials, may carry out on-the-spot inspections.
  • National authorities may take more stringent measures if they wish.
  • The legislation does not apply to fish or shellfish
    • for ornamental purposes,
    • caught in the wild or
    • destined to be processed into fishmeal, fish feed, oil or similar products.


It entered into force on 14 December 2006. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 1 May 2008.


See ‘Aquaculture’ on the European Commission’s website.


Council Directive 2006/88/EC of 24 October 2006 on animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof, and on the prevention and control of certain diseases in aquatic animals (OJ L 328, 24.11.2006, pp. 14–56)

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2006/88/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Decision 2008/392/EC of 30 April 2008 implementing Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards an Internet-based information page to make information on aquaculture production businesses and authorised processing establishments available by electronic means (OJ L 138, 28.5.2008, pp. 12–20)

Commission Decision 2010/221/EU of 15 April 2010 approving national measures for limiting the impact of certain diseases in aquaculture animals and wild aquatic animals in accordance with Article 43 of Council Directive 2006/88/EC (OJ L 98, 20.4.2010, pp. 7–11). See consolidated version.

last update 23.05.2016