Biotechnology has been used extensively in the development of vaccines for aquaculture. Modern molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), cloning and microarray analysis have facilitated antigen discovery, construction of novel candidate vaccines, and assessments of vaccine efficacy, mode of action, and host response. This review focuses on DNA vaccines for finfish to illustrate biotechnology applications in this field. Although DNA vaccines for fish rhabdoviruses continue to show the highest efficacy, DNA vaccines for several other viral and bacterial fish pathogens have now been proven to provide significant protection against pathogen challenge. Studies of the fish rhabdovirus DNA vaccines have elucidated factors that affect DNA vaccine efficacy as well as the nature of the fish innate and adaptive immune responses to DNA vaccines. As tools for managing aquatic animal disease emergencies, DNA vaccines have advantages in speed, flexibility, and safety, and one fish DNA vaccine has been licensed.