Fish iridovirus causes systemic disease with high morbidity and mortality in various species of wild and farm-raised fish, resulting in severe economic losses. Recently, frequent outbreaks of iridovirus infection have occurred among cultured fish in many Asian countries, emphasizing the need for a protective vaccine programme or the development of a suitable therapy. In this study, we expressed a recombinant major capsid protein (rMCP) of rock bream iridovirus (RBIV) from yeast using codon optimization. The rMCP in yeast was added to feed in an attempt to induce intestinal mucosal immunity for protection against and/or to reduce the severity of fish iridovirus infection. We found that fish immunized orally with rMCP underwent a successful induction of antibodies (P < 0.05) and were protected (P = 0.0001) against viral challenge. Based upon these results, oral administration of immunogenic protein as an antigen can be considered a useful method for implementation of vaccine programmes against iridovirus as well as other marine viral diseases.