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Fish Health Legislation and Publications


The new EU Animal Health Regulation 2016/429 applies from April 21st 2021, click here for details.

The regulations that apply to fish health in Ireland are based on European and Irish legislation and aim to prevent and control the spread of disease among aquaculture animals and wild populations of fish. Relevant legislation is outlined below

European Legislation

Council Directive 2006/88/EC

Council Directive 2006/88/EC of 24th October 2006 on animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof, and on the prevention and control of certain disease in aquatic animals.

The objective of the Directive is to raise standards of aquaculture health throughout the EU and to control the spread of disease while maintaining the freedom to trade.

It replaces previous legislation established by Directive 91/67/EEC and 93/53/EC in relation to finfish health and Directive 95/70/EC in relation to shellfish health. The new Directive governs health mitoring of finfish, shellfish and crustaceans. It provides a comprehensive risk-based approach to disease surveillance and puts in place controls on the movement of potential vector and susceptible species. It also provides a structure for declaring the health status of Member States and areas within them.

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1251/2008/EC

This regulation gives effect to Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards conditions and certification requirements for the placing on the market and the import into the Communiity of aquaculture animals and products thereof and laying down a list of vector species.

Commission Decision 2010/221/EU

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.

This Decision gives Ireland protection from additional significant diseases affecting finfish, which are not listed in 2006/88/EC and which not present in Ireland. (Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC), Bacterial kidney disease (BKD), Infection with Gyrodactylus Salaris (GS)).

It repeals and replaces Commission Decision 2004/453/EC

Commission Decision 2010/171/EC

Commission Decision 2012/171/EC of 22nd March 2010 established a targeted surveillance programme for koi herpes virus (KHV). The objective of the surveillance programme was to assess Ireland's status in relation to KHV (Ireland is currently Category III) and thereafter achieve Category I status (freedom).

Commission Decision 2011/187/EU

This decision gives the approval of national measures for preventing the introduction of ostreid herpesvirus 1 µvar (OsHV-1 µvar) into certain areas of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Commission Regulation 2011/350/EU

This regulation amends Regulation (EC) no. 1251/2008 as regards the placing on the market requirements for consignments of Pacific oysters intended for Member States. The main objective of the Commission Decision is to protect the areas within the community which are still free of OsHV-1 µvar. The surveillance programme will be continued and movements of C.gigas will NOT be permitted between infected bays and surveillance areas. This regulation repeals Commission Regulation 175/2010

Commission Implementing Directive 2012/31/EU

Commission Implementing Directive 2012/31/EU of 25 October 2012 amending Annex IV to Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards the list of fish species susceptible to Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia and the deletion of the entry for Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

Commission Implementing Decision 2013/706/EC

Commission Implementing Decision of 29th November 2013 amending Annex I to Decision 2009/177/EC declares disease-free status for Ireland for Koi herpes virus thereby giving the highest health status in Europe with respect to this disease (Category I status as defined in Fish Health Directive 2006/88/EC). All consignments of susceptible species coming to Ireland now need to be certified as free of KHV.

Commission Implementing Decision 2016/1096/EC

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1096 of 6 July 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 1251/2008 as regards the requirements for placing on the market of consignments of certain fish species intended for the Member States or parts thereof with national measures for salmonid alphavirus (SAV).


Irish Legislation

S.I. 261 of 2008

Council Directive 2006/88/EC was transposed into Irish Law by the European Communities (Health of Aquaculture Animals and Products) Regulations 2008. (SI No. 261 of 2008). This was subsequently amended in 2010 and 2011 (see amendment regulations below).

S.I. No. 398 of 2010

These Regulations amend the European Communities (Health of Aquaculture Animals and Products) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 261 of 2008), to take account of developments at European Union level. 

S.I. No. 430 of 2011

These Regulations amend the European Communities (Health of Aquaculture Animals and Products) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 261 of 2008) to, give effect to new measures introduced by Commission Decision 2011/187/EU as regards the approval of national measures for preventing the introduction of ostreid herpesvirus 1 μvar (OsHV-1uvar). The Regulations provide for the establishment of national measures in relation to OsHV-1 μvar, which will allow areas (bays) which are currently free of the virus to be protected in terms of trading with areas infected with OsHV- 1 μvar.

S.I. No. 23 of 2015

European Communities (Health of Aquaculture Animals and Products) (Amendment) Regulations 2015. This Regulation amends Annex IV to Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards infectious salmon anaemia (ISA)

S.I. No. 354 of 2018

The European Union (Invasive Alien Species) (Freshwater Crayfish) Regulations 2018 (SI 354/18) came into force on 18 September 2018. The new measures are designed to combat the threat of disease spread from several species of non-native crayfish.

Throughout Europe, the white-clawed crayfish has been decimated by the impact of a disease called Crayfish plague. This disease was spread to Europe with the introduction of North American species of crayfish, which are resistant to crayfish plague but can act as carriers of the disease.

​The important new regulations will give Irish authorities the powers to prevent the arrival and spread of the five non-native species of crayfish included on the EU list of invasive alien species.

The white-clawed crayfish is considered a globally threatened species and Ireland holds one of the largest surviving populations. It is the only freshwater crayfish species found in Ireland and is protected under both Irish law and the EU Habitats Directive.


Other regulations may apply when importing ornamental aquatic animals, for example, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.