Functions and facilities of the EURL

Functions and duties

The functions and duties of the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for Fish and Crustacean Diseases are concerned with harmonizing diagnostic procedures for notifiable fish and crustacean diseases in Europe. A main purpose of the EURL is to ensure the quality of diagnostics of fish and crustacean diseases in Member States and to harmonize the procedures and methodologies applied.

The EURL coordinates those activities of the National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for Fish and Crustacean Diseases in EU that aim to harmonize diagnostic techniques and disseminate information of mutual interest. Details of our Work Programme is decided at the Annual Workshops of the NRLs for Fish and Crustacean Diseases. 


The fish and shellfish disease facilities at DTU Aqua comprise laboratories at biosafety level 1 and 2, laboratories for processing fish and shellfish contained GMO1 technologies and bacteriology, PCR and other molecular techniques, immunoassays and histology as well as unique fish cell-culture facilities. The EURL also has access to MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer for bacterial diagnostics, and Biomark HD (Fluidigm) for high throughput gene and gene expression analyses.

The facility also includes a separate unit with its own recirculation system for production of disease free fish and a quarantine section for receiving fish and shellfish from external suppliers plus a high-containment section for conducting infection trials with exotic and recombinant fish and shellfish pathogens.

Each room in the high-containment section is equipped with a variety of tanks and has separate regulation of water temperature as well as salinity. The section further includes a laboratory for sampling from the experimental fish. All wastewater used in the high-containment section is pasteurized before release to public wastewater system.

When accessing the high-containment facility change of shoes are mandatory and lab-coats are provided. It is prohibited to visit other places with live fish for a period after stay in the high-containment facility.

Watch video showing the facilities of the EURL for Fish and Crustacean Diseases
13 JULY 2024