Fish Health Inspectorate

We are the Official Service for aquatic animal health in England and Wales, responsible, on behalf of Defra and the Welsh Government (WG), for fish and shellfish health matters. Our main aim is to prevent the introduction and spread of serious and emerging fish and shellfish diseases. We achieve this through our risk-based aquatic animal health inspection programme, monitoring and enforcing compliance with legislation, trade controls, investigating and control of serious disease outbreaks and unexplained mortalities in fish, molluscs and crustacea.

Who we are

The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) is the official service for the control of serious and emerging diseases of aquatic animals in England and Wales.

We are a regulatory body based in the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) laboratory in Weymouth, Dorset and we report to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Our responsibilities

By controlling serious diseases of fish and shellfish in England and Wales, we facilitate safe international trade, benefit people, the economy and the environment and help protect a valuable natural resource.

We are responsible for:

  • authorisation of fish and shellfish farms, shellfish purification centres, and importers and dealers of live fish and shellfish
  • a programme of routine inspections to monitor the health of fish, molluscs and crustacea and industry compliance with the conditions of authorisation and biosecurity requirements
  • investigation, identification, and control of serious (listed) diseases of fish, molluscs, and crustacea, and of new and emerging disease threats
  • registration of recreational fisheries, cropping waters, and transporters
  • facilitating safe trade in live fish and shellfish through import checks and export certification and inspection
  • controls on the keeping and farming of non-native species of fish and shellfish

For more information go to our guidance page.

Disease status of fish, mollusc and crustacea in England and Wales

Great Britain has a high health status for fish, mollusc, and crustacean diseases. The listed diseases are in Regulation 1251/2008 as amended by the Animals, Aquatic Animal Health, Invasive Alien Species, Plant Propagating Material and Seeds (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, at Chapter 2, Annex 1A and Schedule 1 of The Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009.

For more information on the listed diseases and the disease status of England and Wales or the current confirmed disease outbreaks in England and Wales.

Our forms, guidance and publications

We publish press releases and policy changes which affect the aquaculture industry.

We publish application forms and guidance on aquatic health and movements.

We publish our obligations under the Regulator’s Code and our statement of non-qualifying regulatory provisions - including our enforcement strategy - and 2 public registers:

The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) are committed to providing a professional and fair service to everyone. Our Customer Service Charter Fish Health Inspectorate: Service Charter sets out what customers can expect from us. In return we ask that customers respect our staff. We will not tolerate threatening, abusive, or violent behaviour. Under these circumstances no member of staff should be required to or feel obliged to deal with any customer either face to face, over the phone or in correspondence. This is outlined in our Unacceptable Behaviour Policy

Our activities and performance against these standards can be found on the Multi-Annual National Control Plan.

Our priorities

Our priorities for 2024 are to:

  • maintain skills and capabilities to ensure we anticipate threats to our high aquatic animal health status and to ensure a rapid and efficient response to exotic disease outbreaks in England and Wales
  • continue to deliver core business and services to government and industry
  • maintain resources and capacity to ensure the relevant requirements of the Border Target Operating Model are delivered through 2024.
  • support industry through provision of clear and easily accessible advice and guidance on trade processes, to minimise disruption while maintaining safe trade.
  • support Defra in negotiations on trade agreements with the EU and other countries, in relation to live aquatic animals.
  • continue to provide accurate scientific, technical, and operational advice to Defra policy makers on the transformation of UK aquatic animal health legislation and implementation of biosecurity measures, to protect and improve legislative provisions and support continued facilitation of safe trade.
  • maintain safe systems of work to ensure delivery of our statutory responsibilities, protecting aquatic animal health while keeping staff and industry stakeholders safe.



Telephone: 01305 206700

Monday to Thursday - 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4:30 pm

Fish Health Inspectorate
Barrack Road
The Nothe

Contact details