Fifty strains belonging to Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio campbellii, and the recently described Vibrio rotiferianus, were analysed using phenotypic and genomic techniques with the aim of analysing the usefulness of the different techniques for the identification of V. harveyi-related species. The species V. harveyi and V. campbellii were phenotypically indistinguishable by more than 100 phenotypic features. Thirty-nine experimental strains were phenotypically identified as V. harveyi, but FAFLP, REP-PCR, IGS-PCR and DNA-DNA hybridization proved that they in fact belong to the species V. campbellii. Similar groupings were found among all fingerprinting methodologies (except IGS-PCR). Thirty-two experimental strains clustered with the V. campbellii type and one reference strain; seven strains clustered with the V. harveyi type and three reference strains; and the type and four reference strains of V. rotiferianus grouped together. The correlations between DNA-DNA hybridization and the genomic fingerprinting by FAFLP and (GTG)(5)-PCR were found to be above 0.68 and statistically significant, suggesting the value of the latter techniques for the reliable identification of V. harveyi-related species. The results presented indicate that strains phenotypically identified as V. harveyi are in fact V. campbellii; these findings position V. campbellii as an important species involved in diseases of reared aquatic organisms.