Aquaculture Regulations

We strive to keep this site current but please be aware that regulations constantly change. We recommend you contact the regulating authority if you have specific concerns.


Aquaculture Policies and Permits contains eight flow charts that summarize permits relating to the industry in Missouri.

Federal Regulations

US Environmental Protection Agency

EPA has some regulations relating to aquaculture.

In 2005, EPA published effluent limitation guidelines for aquaculture or CAAP ELGs.

Food and Drug Administration

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) training is required by the FDA when selling processed product to restaurants, grocery stores, or across state lines.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits to import and export wildlife. Most aquacultured animals in Missouri do not require USFWS permits to be shipped; however, contacting the regional office in St. Paul, Minnesota at 612-713-5320 or online prior to shipping uncommon species and before initiating any international import/export activity is highly recommended.

State Regulations

The Missouri Code of State Regulations has PDF lists of regulations according to the department that has enforcement responsibility. It is a good place to search if you have some idea what you are looking for. For instance, the Wildlife Code of Missouri is in Title 3 Division 10. The Missouri Revised Statutes contains all state regulations and has a keyword search feature. The most common areas of concern relating to aquaculture are covered below.

Approved Aquatic Species

All species included in the list at 3 CSR 10-9.110(3)(F) may be cultured in open ponds. All other species should be held in “closed containers having water discharged only into approved municipal waste treatment facilities or on-site waste treatment systems that include sand filtration or chlorination”.

Prohibited Aquatic Species

Fish and invertebrate species that “may not be imported, exported, transported, sold, purchased or possessed alive in Missouri” are listed at 3 CSR 10-4.117(2)(C-D).

Bait Dealer Registration

3 CSR 10-10.735 requires anyone selling live bait, as defined in 3 CSR 10-6.605 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri, to register annually with the Department of Conservation. This can be done by completing the Bait Dealer Registration Application and submitting it between January 1 and March 1.

Feed Check Off

Commercial fish producers are required to pay the Missouri Department of Agriculture $3.00 per ton of fish food according to 275.452 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

Importing Fish

Producers importing live fish into the state need to obtain an importation permit from the Division of Animal Health at the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This requires a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) from the state of origin.

Livestock Issues

In 277.024 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri aquatic products are classified as livestock. This regulation was implemented in 1995 through SB109.

The Revised Statutes of Missouri in 570.030.3(3)(j) classifies theft of fish raised for commercial sale as a class C felony. According to 560.011.1(1), a fine up to $5,000.00 may be imposed as a result of committing a class C or D felony.

Major Water Users Registration

Anyone planning “‘to withdraw or divert 100,000 gallons or more from any stream, river, lake, spring or any other water source” should learn about the registration since according to DNR, “This means that anyone with equipment capable of pumping or diverting water at seventy gallons per minute or more is a major water user.”

Operating Permit

As a result of the Clean Water Act of 1972, some fish producers need a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In Missouri, this is issued by the DNR Water Pollution Control Program. The MO-G13 general operating permit authorizes the discharge of water from fish farms/hatcheries to waters of the State.

The general permit fee was capped in 2002 when 644.052.6 (5) was added to the Missouri Revised Statutes. Now those who apply for or possess a general permit should pay no more than “two hundred fifty dollars annually for the operation of an aquaculture facility.”


Chemicals must be labeled for the intended application and registered with the state in order to be used. Search the Missouri Department of Agriculture database to determine if a pesticide is registered in Missouri.

Sales Tax

Chapter 144 of the Missouri Revised Statutes lists agricultural sales tax exemptions and clarifies what is / isn’t an appropriate exemption. The application to aquacultural operations is specifically listed in 144.030.2(32).

When selling fish, sales tax should not be charged since this exemption is based on the seller, not the intended use. In 1996, HB1466 added RSMo 144.030.2(30) which exempts all livestock from sales tax. It states, “All livestock sales when either the seller is engaged in the growing, producing or feeding of such livestock, or the seller is engaged in the business of buying and selling, bartering or leasing of such livestock”.


According to 3 CSR 10-9.110(4), anyone planning to import live fish or gametes “of the family Salmonidae (trouts, char, salmon)” needs to obtain a fish importation permit.

3 CSR 10-9.640 – 645 contains the rules relating to the licensed trout fishing area permit.


3 CSR 10-9.220(4) outlines the confinement standards for turtles

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Farm labor is exempt according to 287.090; however, employers are still liable. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations site is helpful. Asking an insurance provider about possible options is strongly encouraged.