Mycobacterial infections in fish are usually attributed to strains of Mycobacterium marinum, Mycobacterium chelonae and Mycobacterium fortuitum. Bacteria identified as M. chelonae have been isolated numerous times from salmonid fishes. Recently, this bacterium has been associated with salmon mortalities in the aquaculture industry. An M. chelonae-like species from salmon, 'Mycobacterium salmoniphilum', was described in 1960. However, the species name lost standing in nomenclature when it was omitted from the 1980 Approved Lists of Bacterial Names because the species could not be distinguished with confidence from M. fortuitum. In the 1980s, mycobacteria isolated from salmon were characterized as a distinct subspecies, 'Mycobacterium chelonae subsp. piscarium'. Again, the uncertainty of the validity of the species resulted in the subsequent withdrawal of the name. Since then, most studies have considered isolates from salmon to be M. chelonae. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the small-subunit rRNA, hsp65 and rpoB genes was used to examine the taxonomic relatedness of type cultures and authentic isolates in our culture collection available from earlier studies. The M. chelonae-like strains from salmon were phylogenetically distinct from other Mycobacterium strains and members of the M. chelonae complex. Moreover, the cell-wall-bound mycolic acids were not representative of known mycolate patterns for M. chelonae-complex organisms. These results supported the status of the species as a separate taxon and effect the valid publication of the name 'M. salmoniphilum' as Mycobacterium salmoniphilum (ex Ross 1960) sp. nov., nom. rev., with the type strain SCT (=ATCC 13578T =DSM 43276T).