The Fish Health Inspectorate's (FHI) mission is to support a healthy sustainable aquaculture industry and to safeguard the health of wild fish stocks, through regulation and scientific advice backed by high quality research.
Its main objective is to prevent the introduction and spread of serious fish and shellfish diseases in Scotland and this is done by providing an advice and diagnostic service to fish and shellfish farmers, District Salmon Fishery Boards, Fishery Trusts and other stakeholders.
Fish health inspectors are appointed by the Scottish Ministers to act as veterinary inspectors under the fish health legislation.
Wherever possible, inspectors will advise and assist in compliance with the regulations.
Fish health inspectors carry out inspection and testing of fish and shellfish farms to:
- Maintain the status of Great Britain as an approved zone for various diseases of fish and shellfish
- Fulfil the monitoring required in support of the additional guarantees afforded by the Commission for the importation of live aquaculture animals or products to prevent the introduction of Gyrodactylus salaris and other diseases
- Continue surveillance for Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA)
As part of its national surveillance for notifiable diseases, the FHI sample wild fish from all the major catchment areas and the islands of Scotland.
Unannounced Site Inspections
There is a statutory requirement for the inspectorate to carry out unannounced inspections under the EC Directive 2006/88/EC, EC Regulation 882/2004 and The Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009. Industry stakeholders also requested unannounced inspections be undertaken by the inspectorate through the consultation process of the Healthier Fish Working Group in 2010.
The majority of inspections carried out by the inspectorate will continue to be prearranged but fish farmers must be aware of the legislative requirement and drive from industry to carry out these unannounced visits. Farm staff should therefore ensure records are kept up to date and ready for inspection without prior notice. Assistance should be given to inspectors during these visits to enable them to carry out their work.
Inspectors will require access to inspect all the facilities on the site as well as checking the mortality records, movement records, transport records, medicines records, the site Biosecurity Measures Plan, the results of animal health surveillance carried out by (or on behalf of) the business, collect details of the stocks on site and checking that the registration/authorisations details held by Marine Scotland are correct.
These inspections can not be carried out without the cooperation of site staff and your assistance in the completion of the programme of unannounced inspections is greatly appreciated.
The FHI provide a free diagnostic service to fish farmers and other parties responsible for the care of fish, such as Head Keepers and ghillies, District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fishery Trusts. It will investigate reports of unexplained mortalities, take samples and diagnose the cause where possible.
Trade in Live Aquaculture Animals and Products
The FHI is responsible for monitoring all imports of live fish and shellfish, including non-native species, into Scotland from outwith the UK. The FHI carry out spot-checks on imports at points of entry and at destination points and also provide movement documents in order to meet the requirements for fish and shellfish moving to other parts of the EU.
The FHI offer a health certification service for fish and shellfish on a recovery of costs basis.
Register of Fish and Shellfish Farming Businesses
Fish and shellfish farmers are required to keep a record of mortalities and movements of aquaculture animals on and off their farm. These records help trace the source and spread of infection in the event of an outbreak of a notifiable disease.
The FHI carry out annual surveys of the fish and shellfish farming industries to provide statistics and an evaluation of the production of aquaculture species in Scotland.
Application of Movement Restrictions
If the FHI have reasonable grounds to suspect the presence of a notifiable disease on a farm it may serve controls on the movement of live fish to prevent the spread of disease.
Veterinary Medicines Residues Sampling
The FHI undertake operations under The Animal and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits) Regulations 1997 on behalf of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. This involves:
- Inspecting fish farm medicine records
- Taking samples from farmed fish for veterinary medicines residue testing
- Investigating any positive results
In the future this work may extend to the inspection of feed mixing facilities and the sampling of medicated feeds to ensure homogeneity of mixing of the medicines into the feed.
The Fish Health Inspectorate is accredited by the UK Accreditation Service to ISO17020 standard for inspection and sampling of fish farm sites in accordance with EC Directive 2006/88 and EC Commission Decision 2004/453.
Information Released Under Freedom of Information Legislation
All information released by the Fish Health Inspectorate in response to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 is available online.