World Organisation for Animal Health

Font size:

Language :


Advanced search

Home > Standard Setting > Aquatic Code

Aquatic Animal Health Code

The OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code (the Aquatic Code) provides standards for the improvement of aquatic animal health worldwide. It also includes standards for the welfare of farmed fish and use of antimicrobial agents in aquatic animals. The sanitary measures in the Aquatic Code should be used by the Competent Authorities of importing and exporting countries for early detection, reporting and control of pathogenic agents in aquatic animals (amphibians, crustaceans, fish and molluscs) and to prevent their spread via international trade in aquatic animals and their products, while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers to trade.

The standards in the Aquatic Code have been formally adopted by the World Assembly of OIE Delegates, which constitutes the organisation’s highest decision-making body. This 21st edition incorporates modifications to the Aquatic Code agreed at the 86th General Session in May 2018.


OIE International Standards: The key to better aquatic animal health and welfare


 This edition includes the following updates:

 – Chapter 1.3. ’Diseases listed by the OIE’;

– Chapter 5.3. 'OIE procedures relevant to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the World Trade Organization’;

– Chapter 5.4. ’Criteria to assess the safety of aquatic animal commodities’;

 – Article X.X.2. of Chapters 10.1. ’Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis’, 10.3. ’Infection with Gyrodactylus salaris’ and 10.4. ’Infection with infectious salmon anaemia virus’;

– Articles X.X.8., X.X.9., X.X.10. and X.X.11. of all disease-specific chapters in Sections 8, 9 and 10.

This edition also includes the following new chapter:

– Chapter 8.2. ’Infection with Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans’.

The development of these standards and recommendations is the result of the ongoing work by the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission (the Aquatic Animals Commission). This Commission, which comprises six elected members, meets twice yearly to address its work programme. This Commission draws upon the expertise of internationally renowned specialists to prepare draft texts for new articles of the Aquatic Code and to revise existing articles. The views of OIE National Delegates are routinely sought through the twice yearly circulation of new or revised texts. The Aquatic Animals Commission collaborates closely with other Specialist Commissions of the OIE, including the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission, the Biological Standards Commission and the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases, to ensure that the recommendations contained in the Aquatic Code are based upon the latest scientific information.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) formally recognises the role of the OIE as the international standard setting organisation for animal health and zoonotic diseases. According to the SPS Agreement, WTO Members should align their import requirements with the recommendations in the relevant standards of the OIE. Where there are no OIE recommendations or if the country chooses a level of protection requiring measures more stringent than the standards of the OIE, these should be based on an import risk analysis conducted in accordance with Chapter 2.1. The Aquatic Code is thus a key part of the WTO legal framework for international trade.

The Aquatic Code is published annually in the three official OIE languages (English, French and Spanish).

The Aquatic Code includes a User’s Guide which is designed to help Competent Authorities and other interested parties use the Aquatic Code.

Sections 1 to 7 of the Aquatic Code include chapters on notification, diseases listed by the OIE and surveillance for aquatic animals; risk analysis; quality of Aquatic Animal Health Services; disease prevention and control; trade measures, import/export procedures and model health certification; antimicrobial use in aquatic animals; welfare of farmed fish.

Sections 8 to 11 of the Aquatic Code include disease-specific chapters for the OIE listed aquatic animal diseases. The recommendations are intended to prevent the pathogenic agent in question being introduced into an importing country. Each disease chapter includes a list of currently known susceptible species. The standards take into account the nature of the traded commodity, the aquatic animal health status of the exporting country, zone or compartment, and the risk reduction measures applicable to each commodity.

The Aquatic Code  is available online free of charge. 

A hard copy can be purchased from the OIE Online Bookshop.

Aquatic Code
21st Edition, 2018
Format: 29.7 x 21 cm
ISBN: 978-92-95108-69-1

Price: 60 euros
Ref.: A247