Fish health Inspections

All aquaculture production businesses in Northern Ireland must be authorised by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Inspection and sampling

DAERA has a statutory obligation to undertake a regular inspection and sampling programme of fish farms, in line with Council Directive 2006/88/EC.  The Fish Health Inspectorate regularly inspect active aquaculture production businesses and take samples of fish for laboratory analysis.

Licence holder obligations

An authorisation will normally require the licence holder to ensure the aquaculture production business is open for inspection to an officer of DAERA at all reasonable times and to provide DAERA with such samples of fish as are required, free of charge.

Inspection procedure

When undertaking an inspection of an aquaculture production business the Fisheries Inspectorate will seek to:

  • monitor the fish stocks on the farm for fish health purposes;
  • ensure compliance with authorisation conditions;
  • ensure good fish husbandry and welfare practices are in operation at the farm;
  • ensure effective bio-security measures are in place on the farm;
  • ensure compliance with regulations governing the disposal of fish waste;
  • inspect records held in the fish record book;
  • verify information on fish movements provided to DAERA.

Fish culture licence

It is an offence to operate a fish farm without a fish culture licence or in contravention of the conditions of a fish culture licence.

Fish culture licence conditions are also enforced by the Fisheries Inspectorate.

Discharge consents

Please note that discharge consents are monitored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.


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