The code of practice applies to marine aquaculture owners/operators (for example, fish farmers, shellfish growers and seaweed aquaculture). The code provides advice and guidance on the appropriate methodologies to prevent the spread of invasive non-native species in the aquatic environment. The code also takes into account the use of boats and equipment by the sector and recommends guidelines to that facilitates managing this vector of spread.

Adherence to the guidelines in this code of practice will help limit the spread of some of Ireland’s Most Unwanted invasive species.

Marine invasive species of concern

Didemnum vexillum

Common name: Carpet seasquirt
Threat: Impact on aquaculture and fisheries, protected species and marine ecosystem functioning
Status: Established invasive species
Photo credit: USGS
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Crepidula fornicata

Common name: Slipper limpet
Threat: Fisheries, protected species and marine ecosystem functioning

Status: Established invasive species

Photo credit: GB NNSS
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Rapana venosa

Common name: Asian rapa whelk
Threat: Threatens marine ecosystem functioning

Status: Potential invasive species

Photo credit: USGS via
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How can a Code of Practice reduce risk?

The ability of species to contaminate aquaculture equipment and stock species, foul the hull of boats and stow away in bilge water has and can continue to deliver non native species to new areas where they can impact on the biodiversity and economy of the region.

The aquaculture sector has a role to play in preventing movement of invasive non-native species by  preventing the contamination of transported equipment and product, reducing fouling of vessels and equipment by use of an appropriate antifouling method (e.g. antifouling paint), removing fouling in a responsible manner where it cannot return to the environment, draining all water from the vessel/craft before transferring to another water body, preventing fouling of ropes and chains by drying them on a regular basis and not disposing of live material in the water.

The impact invasive species exert on native species, endangered species and on the conservation goals of designated areas are costly to control and mitigate against. Good practice has the potential to deliver significant benefits in terms of preventing introduction and spread of non-native species, where these are likely to cause problems.

A summary of the recommended actions in the Aquaculture Code of Practice can be found at the following link:

You can download the Draft Aquaculture Code of Practice parent document from the following link:

Related information

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

BIM is the Irish State agency with responsibility for developing the Irish Sea Fishing and Aquaculture industries.

DARD Fisheries

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has responsibility for aquaculture licensing in Northern Ireland. DARD Fisheries Division is responsible under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 for the licensing of fish farms in Northern Ireland.

This is an initiative designed to ensure the widespread introduction of environmental management systems (EMS). ECOPACT has been developed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Irish Sea Fisheries Board).

Marine Institute

The Marine Institute is the national agency responsible for Marine Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI).

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland