Aquaculture Certificate

Aquaculture Certificate

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture External Website is responsible for certifying aquaculturists.

Who Needs One?

All persons engaging in aquaculture are required to obtain the certificate. Aquaculture products include: fish, shellfish, amphibians, reptiles, sponges, and corals. The certificate number is required to be on all aquaculture products from harvest to point of sale. Aquaculture activities include:

  • Fish farming (including culture of species native or non-native to Florida and also including freshwater and saltwater species whether or not they are considered sport or game fish)
  • Importing non-native conditional or other non-native fish species (including tropical fish) for aquaculture
  • Culturing freshwater turtles
  • Culturing shellfish on submerged lands leased from the State of Florida
  • Culturing living marine organisms that are attached to rocks on submerged lands leased from the State of Florida.

Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) and can be a commercial or private venture.  Floridians should be Aquaponicsaware of the regulations and permits that pertain to personal aquaponics projects.

Freshwater fish farmers that want to culture conditional aquatic species must obtain the Restricted Species Authorization from the Division of Aquaculture. To qualify for the Restricted Species Authorization, farmers must meet the Best Management Practices for each species listed as restricted (conditional species).

Freshwater fish farmers possessing an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration and selling their cultured freshwater fish or purchasing cultured freshwater fish from other certified aquaculturists do not have to possess a FWC freshwater fish dealers license. Non-farmers selling cultured, imported or wild freshwater fish must have a FWC freshwater fish dealers license.

FWC recognizes aquaculture as an alternative to commercial harvest of wild populations of freshwater turtles. Freshwater turtle farms possessing an Aquaculture Certificate may harvest freshwater turtles as brood stock commercial aquaculture as authorized by a FWC permit.

The holder of an aquaculture certificate is not required to purchase and possess a FWC commercial freshwater fishing/dealers license or saltwater products license in order to possess, transport, or sell marine aquaculture products. 

A FWC marine life endorsement is not required to harvest live rock from a certified state aquaculture lease or federally permitted aquaculture site.

Note: The aquaculture certificate does not cover harvest of wild populations of fish or other organisms.

How to Apply

To obtain an Aquaculture Certification application, or for more information, please contact:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Aquaculture
600 South Calhoun St., Room 217
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 617-7600
Fax: (850) 617-7601
Web Site: External Website

FWC Aquaculture Regulations

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's regulations pertaining to aquaculture can be found at The Florida Department of State, Florida Administrative Code External Website(F.A.C.) and Florida Statutes External Website(F.S.)web pages.

Regulations regarding freshwater fish dealer's license are found in 379.363, F.S.

Regulations regarding freshwater aquaculture facilities are
found in 68A-23.0091, 68A-23.0092 and 68A-12.009(5), F.A.C.

Regulations pertaining to exotic and conditional non-native freshwater species can be found under 68A-23.007 and 68-5, F.A.C.

Regulations concerning the sale of freshwater fish are found
under 68A-23.008 and 68A-23.009, F.A.C.

Regulations about transporting freshwater fish are found in
68A-4.005 and 68A-23.009, F.A.C.

Regulations relating to freshwater turtles are found in 68A-25.002, F.A.C.

Regulations about commercial saltwater products licenses and saltwater special activity license are found in 379.361, F.S.

Regulations about live rock (marine life) are found in 68B-42.008, F.A.C.

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