Ireland enjoys a high health status (Category 1) in relation to the fish/shellfish on farms, in rivers and in lakes and remains free of many diseases that occur in other countries. An introduction to fish health legislation together with an overview of Ireland's fish health status, and the key requirements of fish health regulations in Ireland is outlined below.
Introduction to fish health legislation
Fish health is protected by European legislation (Council Directive 2006/88/EC) designed to prevent and control the spread of certain diseases in aquatic animals. The legislation classifies aquatic disease as either ‘exotic’, in which case they are not present in the European Community or ‘non-exotic’ in which case they occur in certain countries within the community.
The Directive was transposed into Irish Law by the European Communities (Health of Aquaculture Animals and Products) Regulations 2008 (SI No. 261 of 2008), European Communities (Health of Aquaculture Animals and Products (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 398 of 2010) and 2011 (S.I. No. 430 of 2011). The regulations introduce measures that reflect the significant growth and development in the aquaculture industry in Ireland over the past 15 years.
Specific regulations are in place relating to Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) to prevent the introduction of ostreid herpesvirus 1 μνar (OsHV-1 μνar) into certain areas of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Fish health legislation in Ireland is implemented by the Marine Institute as the Competent Authority.
In addition to the exotic disease listed in the Directive, Ireland is free from the following non-exotic disease:
- Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) (PDF, 326Kb)
- Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS) (PDF, 318Kb)
- Infectious Haematopoetic Necrosis (IHN) (PDF, 256Kb)
- Marteilia refringens(PDF, 28Kb)
- Bonamia ostreae (PDF, 256Kb) in certain bays only
Ireland is also free from other significant diseases affecting finfish:
- Gyrodactylus salaris,
- Spring Viraemia of Carp, and
- Bacterial Kidney Disease
These are not listed in the Directive (2006/88/EC) but Ireland is protected by additional guarantees under Commision Decision 2010/221/EU.
Species which are are susceptible to any of the diseases listed above can only be imported to Ireland from countries or areas that are also free from these diseases.
Aquatic diseases and fish health is monitored by the Marine Institute which is the National Reference Laboratory for aquatic disease in Ireland.
Key Features of Fish Health Regulation in Ireland
- All aquaculture production businesses must obtain Fish Health Authorisation from the Marine Institute.
- A public register of authorised finfish, mollusc and crustacean aquaculture production business has been created.
- New requirements apply when transporting aquaculture animals and a register of specialist transporters of aquaculture animals has been published.
- Risk-based fish health surveillance programme is carried out by the Marine Institute.
- Importers of ornamental or pet fish must register with the Marine Institute and provide advance notice of any imports