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Food Safety

Aquaculture animals and products - from both within the EU and from non-EU countries - must fulfill similar health requirements before they can be moved across national boarders.

The animal health conditions governing the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products are defined in Council Directive 2006/88/EC. This Directive has been amended several times in order to update our legislation to new situations and new scientific knowledge.

Because the animal health situation is not the same throughout the territory of the EU, the movement regulations are based on the concept of approved (disease free) zones and farms for non-exotic diseases listed in Part II of Annex IV to Directive 2006/88/EC. The Directive lays down the criteria and procedures for the granting, maintenance, suspension, restoration and withdrawal of approval of such zones and farms as well as certification requirements for movement into disease free zones/farms. It also contains rules governing import from non-EU countries.

The diseases and susceptible crustacean, mollusc or fish species covered by the Directive are divided into two categories:

Exotic diseases are considered exotic in the EU and aquatic animals infected with such disease are killed and destroyed as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the disease. Where aquatic animals are suspected of being infected or infected with an exotic disease, movement of the animals, whether dead or alive, eggs and gametes are not allowed without the authorisation from the Competent Authorities.

Non-exotic diseases are important endemic diseases that should be contained and eradicated in the long term.


I - Basic texts

  • Council Directive 2006/88/EC on animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof, and on the prevention and control of certain diseases in aquatic animals. This Directive was amended several times. All of the amendments and consolidated versions are available on this link.

II - Commission Decisions

  • Approval of disease free EU countries, zones and compartments

    Commission Decision 2009/177/EC implementing Directive 2006/88/EC as regards surveillance and eradication programmes and disease free EU countries, zones and compartment. All of the amendments and consolidated versions are available on this link.

  • Approval of national measures for non-listed diseases

    Commission Decision 2010/221/EU approving national measures for limiting the impact of certain diseases in aquaculture animals and wild aquatic animals in accordance with Article 43 of Council Directive 2006/88/EC.

  • Rules governing trade and import from non-EU countries

    Commission Regulation (EC) No 1251/2008 implementing Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards conditions and certification requirements for the placing on the market and import into the Community of aquaculture animals and products thereof and laying down a list of vector species. All of the amendments and consolidated versions are available on this link.

  • Safeguard measures

    Council Directive 97/78/EC and Council Directive 91/496/EEC lay down provisions that allow EU countries or the Commission to take immediate action in the event that an outbreak of a disease presents a serious threat to animal or public health. Action taken can include the suspension of imports from all or part of the territory concerned or the adoption of special conditions in respect to products from the territory.