Antibacterial drug treatment in aquaculture during 1991-1996 was investigated using prescription data provided by the Norwegian Government Fish Inspection and Quality Control Service (NFCS). The majority of prescriptions (n = 5401) were for Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout (salmonids), while 383 prescriptions were for other species. Of the 13 different single substances or combinations prescribed during the study period, only 5 were approved for or had been subjected to clinical trials in salmonids. Of the prescriptions for the salmonids, 99% were for approved drugs or drugs subjected to clinical trials. The major proportion of the antibacterial drugs prescribed for other fish species were drugs which were approved for or which had been subjected to clinical trials in salmonids. In all fish species, the prescribing of antibacterial drugs which were neither approved for nor had been subjected to clinical trials was mainly for fish far below slaughter weight. The prescription data were validated against the drug statistics from the wholesalers and feed mills. It was concluded that the data indeed represented antibacterial drug prescribing in Norwegian aquaculture. The prescribing of antibacterial drugs proved to be almost completely reported to NFCS, which is responsible for the control of drug residues in farmed fish in Norway.