Vibrio aestuarianus is an opportunistic environmental pathogen that has been associated with epidemics in cultured shrimp Penaeus vannamei. Hepatopancreas microsporidian (HPM) and monodon slow growth syndrome (MSGS) have been reported in cultured P. vannamei. In this study, we sequenced and assembled the whole genome of V. aestuarianus strain W-40, a strain that was originally isolated from the intestines of an infected P. vannamei. The genome of V. aestuarianus strain W-40 contains two circular chromosomes of 483,7307 bp with a 46.23% GC content. We identified 4,457 open reading frames (ORFs) that occupy 86.35% of the genome. Vibrio aestuarianus strain W-40 consists primarily of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter system and the phosphotransferase system (PTS). CagA is a metabolism system that includes bacterial extracellular solute-binding protein. Glutathione reductase can purge superoxide radicals (O22-) and hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) damage in V. aestuarianus strain W-40. The presence of two compete type I restriction-modification systems was confirmed. A total of 42 insertion sequences (IS) elements and 16 IS elements were identified. Our results revealed a host of virulence factors that likely contribute to the pathogenicity of V. aestuarianus strain W-40, including the virulence factor genes vacA, clpC, and bvgA, which are important for biofilm dispersion. Several bacitracin and tetracycline antibiotic resistance-encoding genes and type VI secretion systems were also identified in the genome. The complete genome sequence will aid future studies of the pathogenesis of V. aestuarianus strain W-40 and allow for new strategies to control disease to be developed.© 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.