Fish Health Inspectorate

We inspect fish and shellfish farms and investigate serious outbreaks of disease in both farms and the wild in England and Wales.

By helping to maintain the health of the fish and shellfish in England and Wales, we improve businesses’ ability to trade openly outside the UK, reduce their losses from disease and help protect a valuable natural resource.

Who we are

We are based at 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

We are responsible for preventing the introduction and spread of serious diseases in fish, shellfish and crustacea by:

  • managing programmes that monitor the health of fish, shellfish and crustacea
  • taking steps to treat and reduce the spread of diseases
  • assessing the outbreak, spread and impact of diseases
  • investigating unexplained deaths in fish and shellfish
  • advising on ways to reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases

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

Great Britain has a high health status with regard to fish, mollusc and crustacean diseases. The listed diseases are detailed in Part II, Annex IV of Directive 2006/88/EC and Schedule 1 of The Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009.

For the disease status of England and Wales or the latest reported 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:

We publish a service charter and our annual reports on our activities and performance against these standards can be found on the Multi-Annual National Control Plan.

Our priorities

In 2021, our priorities will be to:

  • to embed all procedural changes resulting from EU-exit into FHI operational processes and fast track training of all new staff members to achieve full capacity for delivery.

  • to maintain resources and capacity for successful response to the increased demand for export certification post EU-exit.

  • 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.

  • provide technical and operational advice to Defra on the transformation of UK aquatic animal health legislation and implementation of biosecurity measures, in order to protect and improve legislative provisions and support continued facilitation of safe trade.

  • maintain safe systems of work under the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions 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