Keeping pace with the rapid growth of the aquaculture sector in Africa

Protect Africa’s aquatic resources from harmful diseases and strengthen biosecurity across all sectors

Keeping aquatic animals healthy is increasingly important with increased demand for high quality animal protein. This protein is likely to come from aquaculture. Today about half of the fish and fisheries’ products consumed worldwide comes from aquaculture. Farming of aquatic animals is likely to intensify substantially in Africa in near future.   


Increased global trade and intensified production of aquatic animals generates new sanitary challenges for the aquaculture. Aquatic animal diseases can have devastating effects on the production and the livelihood of producers.

Special challenges in the aquatic animal health are the variety of species being farmed from fresh water fish, salt water fish, molluscs, amphibians and crustaceans, in varied production systems, often open to the environment. To support the growth of the industry, the health of aquatic animals must be monitored and managed carefully to overcome the sanitary challenges that come with these numerous species, the high trade volumes and the production methods. 

The OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code (often referred to as the Aquatic Code) is the international reference for surveillance, prevention and control of specific aquatic animal diseases. The OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals provides requirements for diagnosis and testing for the diseases listed in the Aquatic Code (and some of the meanwhile delisted diseases). Cross-border, regional and international trade are well-known risk factors in spreading of animal diseases. If not managed properly, trade can spread diseases to new geographic areas and new diseases can emerge. 

The OIE is recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the  standard setting body for minimum requirements for safe trade in fish, crustaceans, amphibians and molluscs and their products.

The OIE World Animal Health Information System’s (WAHIS) aquatic user interface collects and provides data on aquatic animal diseases. Members of the OIE are required to notify of aquatic animal diseases present and emerging on the WAHIS portal. 


Welfare of aquatic animals

Farming aquatic animals carries ethical responsibilities as animals -including aquatic animals – are sentient beings. Unnecessary suffering must be avoided. The OIE Aquatic Code includes several international standards on the welfare of farmed fish, during transport (Chapter 7.2.), for the stunning and killing for human consumption (Chapter 7.3.) and for the killing for disease control purposes (Chapter 7.4.). 

Diseases (latest outbreaks in Africa)

See all alerts

30/03/2022 South Africa : Koi herpesvirus

15/08/2021 South Africa: Koi herpesvirus

02/06/2021 Malawi : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

19/04/2021 Cameroon: Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

13/11/2020 South Africa : Koi herpesvirus disease

08/08/2020 Botswana : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

27/07/2020 Malawi : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

21/07/2020 South Africa : Koi herpesvirus disease

13/02/2020 South Africa : Koi herpesvirus disease

02/02/2018  South Africa : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

02/02/2018  South Africa : Koi herpes virus disease

03/10/2016  South Africa : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

19/08/2016  Zimbabwe : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

01/08/2016  Kenya : Infectious haematopoietic necrosis (rainbow trout) 

03/05/2016  South Africa : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

12/08/2015  South Africa : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

11/03/2015  South Africa : Epizootic ulcerative syndrome

Applicable OIE standards 


OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code


OIE Aquatic Animal Health Manual



Social media links (focal points' training courses)

Dar es Salaam (2018)

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Grahamstown (2011)

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Swakopmund (2010)

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Maputo (2008)

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