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Operator Obligations - Animal Health Law

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Animal Health Law

Operators of aquaculture establishments are required to apply to the competent authority for either registration or approval depending on the type of activity.

Operators of approved aquaculture establishments must inform the competent authority in advance of any changes to operations or the cessation of activity (Article 180 of Regulation EU 2016/429).


Biosecurity Plan

Operators of aquaculture establishments are required to submit a documented biosecurity plan which will be considered during the approval process.

The biosecurity plan must take certain elements into consideration and apply measures accordingly depending on type of operations as per as per guidance in Article 5 of Regulation EU 2020/691.

General requirements for biosecurity plans are listed HERE.

The Fish Health Unit has prepared sample plans (download below) which you may use as a guide in preparing a fish health biosecurity plan for your own establishment. Please download and include site specific details appropriate to your establishment and attach to your Fish Health Approval Application. 

Establishment Type Sample Biosecurity Plans
Shellfish Farms Shellfish Health Biosecurity Plan (PDF 896KB)
Finfish Farms Finfish Health Management Plan (Word 33 KB)
Put & Take Fishery Put & Take Fish Health Management Plan (Word 114 KB)


Record Keeping Obligations

Articles 186 of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 lays down the minimum record-keeping obligations for operators of aquaculture establishments.

General record keeping requirements for aquaculture establishments are listed here

During the approval process, specific types of aquaculture establishments will be informed to keep records which are particular to them and the type of aquaculture activity they are engaged in.

The records must be kept and maintained in paper or electronic form and made available to the competent authority on request.

Registered Put and Take Fishery Operators can download a pdf of Fish Health Record Book and Visitors Log on the following links or can or contact to request a copy. 

Movements of Aquaculture Animals

All movements of aquaculture animals for on-growing and further processing must be notified to the Marine Institute at least three days in advance for movements within Ireland and five days ahead of the planned movement for imports/exports.

  • Movement applications will be assessed by the Fish Health Unit prior to approval being granted.  Applications can be submitted via online portal.
  • Operators are obligated under the Animal Health Law to take appropriate measures to ensure that the movement of aquaculture animals does not jeopardise the health status at the place of destination.

Operator Obligations with regards movements of aquaculture animals are listed here.


Risk Based Surveillance Scheme (Site Inspections)

The Marine institute operates the risk-based health surveillance scheme that includes site inspections and sampling at an appropriate frequency depending on the nature of production at the aquaculture establishment.

Operators are obligated to facilitate risk-based surveillance conducted by the competent authority in accordance with Article 6 of Regulation (EU) 2020/691.


Animal Health Responsibilities

Operators are responsible for the health of their kept animals and the biosecurity measures taken in relation to these animals (Article 10 of Regulation EU 2016/429).

Operators should have adequate knowledge of animal diseases and good practice of animal husbandry for the animal species under their care (Article 11 of Regulation EU 2016/429).

Operators have surveillance obligations to observe the health and behaviour of animals under their responsibility looking for any changes in the normal production parameters, or abnormal mortalities that suggest the presence or suspicion of disease (Article 24 of Regulation EU 2016/429).


Disease Notification and Reporting Obligations

Article 18 of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 lays down the rules for disease notification within Member States.

  • Operators are obligated to immediately notify the competent authority where there are any reasons to suspect the presence of a listed disease, or where the presence of such a disease is detected.
  • Operators are also obligated to notify a private veterinarian of abnormal mortalities and other signs of serious disease or significant decreased production rates with an undetermined cause.
  • Operators are encouraged to report all disease issues to the competent authority so that further investigations and laboratory examination can be initiated when deemed necessary.