February 24, 1998
Introduction: Aquaculture has evolved rapidly in recent years here in Arizona. Although the primary regulatory agency is now the Department of Agriculture, Arizona Game and Fish and the Department of Environmental Quality have significant regulatory oversight. The following outline is meant to provide the basic information regarding the stocking, rearing, transportation, harvest and disposal of aquaculture products, by-products and effluents. All practicioners should maintain and review copies of all the pertinent regulations.
I. Stocking - A stocking permit is required from the Arizona Game and Fish Department whenever a population of fish is stocked into a body of water or a licensed farm. The stocking permit is good for twenty days. Certain species are banned from introduction (AZG&F maintains a list). Ornamental fishes are not covered by the stocking permits, so aquarium and ornamental pond species are not regulated. - FREE
II. Triploid Grass Carp (a.k.a. White Amur, White Amir) - A special permit, issued by Arizona Game and Fish, is required for the stocking of triploid grass carp. Only fish which have been certified as sterile may be brought into the state and these must be of a certain size before they can be stocked into irrigation systems or golf course lakes, where they are used for aquatic vegetation control. - FREE
III. Aquaculture license - A person who wishes to raise fish in captivity as a commercial enterprise is required to obtain an aquaculture permit from the Arizona Department of Agriculture. The permit application will require that information regarding the location, water source and water disposal, the responsible (contact) person be provided. The application also must include the species being cultured. - $100 per year
IV. Transporter license - A person who wishes to transport live fish into or within the State of Arizona must have a transporter license from the AZ. Department of Agriculture. - $100 per year
V. Processor license - A person who wishes to process fish for human consumption within the State of Arizona must have a processor license from the AZ Department of Agriculture. - $100 per year (As of Jan. 1, 1998, a HACCP plan must also be prepared and in operation.)
VI. Fee fishing license - A person who wishes to operate a commercial sport fishing operation on private property must obtain a fee fishing license. This license allows the customers to fish without an Arizona Game and Fish fishing license and the propiertor determines rates and what tackle and catch limits are applicable. The fee fishing license is obtained from the AZ Department of Agriculture. - $100 per year
VII. Special educational license - A person who wishes to maintain aquatic animals in captivity for educational purposes must obtain a permit from the AZ Department of Agriculture. - $10 per year.
VIII. Fish health permit - All fish stocked under a stocking permit must be accompanied by a certificate of health. Also, all licensed farms should be certified as healthy at least once a year. - Prices variable, source of the service provider is also variable.
IX. Best Management Practices for Aquaculture effluents - The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has responsibility to insure that nitrogen wastes from the discharge of aquaculture facilities do not pollute the groundwater or surface waters of the state. - There are no separate costs if the facility operates under a General Permit which covers all aquaculture operations so long as they operates utilizing BMP’s.
X. NPDES - If a fish farming facility discharges wastes directly to waters of the state, i.e. public waters. The farm may be required to obtain an NPDES permit from AZDEQ. Check with AZDEQ for a determination.
Aquaculture Extension Specialist
University of Arizona