- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
- Part of:
- Aquatic animal health and movements guides
- 16 May 2014
- Last updated:
- 13 April 2016, see all updates
- Applies to:
- England and Wales
How to get authorised to set up a fish, shellfish or crustacean farm: application process, conditions and records you must keep.
Before setting up a fish, shellfish or crustacean farm (called an aquaculture production business) you must apply to the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) for authorisation. This is to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious diseases.
There are many other regulatory requirements for new aquaculture businesses. A full list of these can be found on the SEAFISH Aquaculture Regulatory Toolbox for England.
How to apply for authorisation
When you apply for authorisation the steps are:
- you apply to the FHI for Authorisation to set up a new aquaculture production business
- you get a confirmation letter with guidance on developing a biosecurity measures plan (BMP). This will also explain if your application must undergo a statutory consultation with other government bodies
- the inspector arranges a site visit
- the inspector reviews your draft BMP and gives advice on record keeping
- the inspector makes a recommendation to an authorisation officer
One of the following then happens:
- you get a licence (if your site is complete and you have a BMP)
- you get a licence in principle (if your BMP hasn’t been submitted or your site is still at the planning stage)
- you don’t get a licence (if your plans or species don’t comply with the law or if it’s more appropriate to register your site as a fishery or aquatic animal holding)
Authorisation can take up to 90 days.
If your application is unsuccessful
If your application is turned down FHI will tell you the reasons why and will work with you to resolve problems.
They’ll also tell you how you can appeal against their decision.
The fish health inspector will outline the conditions of your authorisation.
As a condition of your licence you must:
- keep records of all movements in the right format (see the regulations on records, part 2, sections 6 & 7)
- follow good hygiene practice (see your BMP for further details)
- comply with surveillance requirements requested by FHI
- comply with procedures in your approved BMP
If you don’t comply with authorisation conditions
If you don’t comply with the conditions of your authorisation your authorisation may be suspended or cancelled.
You may also be fined.
Records you must keep
You must keep the following records to show there’s a low risk of spreading disease:
- details of movements of any fish, shellfish or crustacean or product into or out of your premises
- number of aquaculture animals that have died in each of your units
- results of your surveillance
- results of surveillance FHI notifies you about
If your details change
If there are changes you must apply to FHI to change your authorisation.
You must tell FHI in writing in advance if:
- the owner or operator of the farm changes
- the farm is no longer operational
- the species farmed changes
- the number of tanks, ponds or other holding facilities changes
Authorisation for a purification plant
To set up a shellfish purification plant you need to:
- apply to FHI for Authorisation to set up a new aquaculture production business.
- contact environmental health at your local council to organise an inspection.
Rules for purification centres are set by the Food Standards Agency.
Fish Health Inspectorate
Telephone: 01305 206 700
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Fax: 01305 206602
Published: 16 May 2014
Updated: 13 April 2016
- Added link to SEAFISH Aquaculture Regulatory Toolbox for England.
- Added a section on the need for some applications to undergo statutory consultations.
- First published.