Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal food sector worldwide and expected to further increase to feed the growing human population. However, existing and (re-)emerging diseases are hampering fish and shellfish cultivation and yield. For many diseases, vaccination protocols are not in place and the excessive use of antibiotics and other chemicals is of substantial concern. A more sustainable disease control strategy to protect fish and shellfish from (re-)emerging diseases could be achieved by introduction or augmentation of beneficial microbes. To establish and maintain a ‘healthy’ fish microbiome, a fundamental understanding of the diversity and temporal-spatial dynamics of fish-associated microbial communities and their impact on growth and health of their aquatic hosts is required. This review describes insights in the diversity and functions of the fish bacterial communities elucidated with next-generation sequencing and discusses the potential of the microbes to mitigate (re-)emerging diseases in aquaculture.