What does Cefas do?

We are Cefas, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science. We are an agency of Defra (the Government’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and world leading experts in marine and freshwater science. We help keep our seas, oceans and rivers healthy and productive and our seafood safe and sustainable, by providing data and advice to Government and our overseas partners.

We are passionate about the work we do because we are committed to making a difference to the health of our planet and the people that depend on it. Our work helps tackle the serious global problems of climate change, biodiversity loss and food security, in support of the UK’s commitments to a better future (for example, UN Sustainable Development Goals, net zero by 2050, and Defra’s 25-year Environment Plan and Food Strategy).

What we do

Innovative, world-class applied science is central to our mission. Our science aims to help:  

  • secure the food we get from water, by predicting the future of fisheries and aquaculture
  • protect people and animals from the hazards in seafood and water, by detecting toxins and disease
  • conserve and manage our marine and freshwater environments, by forecasting ecosystem changes, such as nature loss and ocean warming
  • support sustainable marine economies, by understanding and managing human interactions with the environment

Our scientists use a breadth of surveying, mapping and sampling technologies to collect and analyse data that are trustworthy and valuable.  We use our state-of-the-art Research Vessel Cefas Endeavour, autonomous marine vehicles, remotely piloted aircraft and utilise satellites to monitor and assess the health of our waters.

Our research, evidence collection, data and advice are applied at home and overseas, to enable animal health regulation, fisheries negotiations, environmental planning and consenting decisions, conservation and environmental protection, and to respond to serious emergencies such as fish disease outbreaks, oil or chemical spills, and radioactivity leaks.

How we work

We work in partnership with our colleagues in Defra and across UK Government, and with international governments, business, industry, non-governmental organisations, research institutes, universities, civil society and schools to collate and share knowledge.

Our two UK Strategic Alliance universities, the University of East Anglia and Exeter University are central to our national academic outreach.-Our International Centres of Excellence drive our collaborations and reputation internationally in the fields of aquatic animal health, seafood safety and marine climate change.

The majority of our staff are based in Lowestoft and Weymouth; in addition, we work out of a number of English ports. Overseas, our scientists currently work in Commonwealth countries, United Kingdom Overseas Territories, South East Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Our staff share values of making a difference, valuing people and behaving professionally. We apply and trust in these, to help us achieve the ambition and excellence we all expect.

For more information about our Science, please see our Science and Evidence Strategy.

Together, we are working for a sustainable blue future for us all.