An aquatic farm is a licensed facility for hatching, raising, rearing, and culturing private aquatic life for sale. An aquatic farm license can include ponds, vats, tanks, raceways, and other indoor or outdoor facilities that an aquatic farmer owns or has the right to use. This license is subject to a pond acreage fee. A five-year license is available. You pay for the entire five-year fee in the first year of the five-year term (you will receive an updated license each year during your five-year term). Six endorsements are available for holders of an aquatic farm license:
These endorsements allow the license holder to conduct the same activities as an individual license for that activity would allow. They are simply a way to consolidate all licenses into one for the convenience of the licensee.
All ponds and facilities that you want to use for culturing private aquatic life must be approved and listed on your aquatic farm license. If a pond is dropped from a license and not transferred to another licensee within a year, a new inspection may be required to re-license that pond. To license a new pond, submit a Private Fish Hatchery and Aquatic Farm New Pond Application along with required inspection fees to your regional fisheries manager.
Adding a Species to Your Aquatic Farm License
You may request to add a species to your license at any time during the license year by simply drafting a short letter to your Regional Fisheries Manager including: your name, hatchery license number, and the species of aquatic life that you are requesting for approval. Species of aquatic life must be approved and listed on your list of licensed waters, before they are brought into your licensed waters. It is a violation to bring a species of aquatic life into your licensed waters unless those waters are licensed for that species.
All species of aquatic life fall into one of the three following categories:
Fish Health Inspection and Certification
Facilities licensed for salmonids or catfish require an annual fish health inspection if they discharge effluent to public waters. A lot means a group of fish of the same species and age that originated from the same discrete spawning population and that have always shared a common water supply; or various age groups of brood stock of the same species that have shared the same containers for one brood cycle. Even if your facility does not discharge to public waters, you need a fish health certification to transfer salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services to another licensed facility, or to stock salmonids, catfish, or VHS susceptible species into waters of the state. There are two labs in the state of MN that can perform a fish health inspection:
You can also choose to use any accredited testing laboratory located out-of-state.
Certified fish collectors:
|Dr. Jeff Lukken||218-864-5695||Battle Lake||MN|
|Dr. John Howe||218-326-9668||Grand Rapids||MN|
|Dr. Glen Zebarth||320-762-1575||Alexandria||MN|
|Dr. Jamie Litke||320-630-0151||Pierz||MN|
|Dr. Spencer Wayne||507-215-1604||Pipestone||MN|
Dr. Robert Smith
|Dr. Michael Bjorklund||507-256-7237||Clarks Grove||MN|
|Dr. Amanda Covington||320-458-3311||Winsted||MN|
|Dr. Kevin Haroldson||218-732-9866||Park Rapids||MN|
|Dr. Rachel Bakeberg||320-289-2484||Appleton||MN|
|Dr. Kelvin Rudolph||218-346-2120||Perham||MN|
Pond Acreage Fees
Aquatic farm licensees are subject to a pond acreage fee. This fee is charged at a rate of $15 per 10 acres of licensed waters. This includes all waters listed as a part of your operation, both artificial (including excavated ponds, raceways, and tanks) and natural waters of the state. Your total acreage will be rounded up to the nearest 10 acre increment, and you will be charged accordingly.
Aeration Permits Aeration of licensed waters (ponds) may be permitted under an aquatic farm license if one of the following conditions is met:
The DNR will provide "Thin Ice" signs for licensed waters that require a DNR aeration permit issued by the Division of Ecological and Water Resources. The licensee is required to obtain and post "Thin Ice" signs on ponds approved for aeration under that aquatic farm license but do not need an aeration permit. Proof of financial responsibility (insurance) is waived if you meet any of the above conditions. If you wish to aerate pond(s) that do not meet one of the above conditions, a separate aeration permit is required. Please apply for an aeration permit through your local Area Fisheries Headquarters, Regional Fisheries Office, or Marilyn Danks.
Requests for Game Fish Eggs, Fry, or Brood Stock
Cool/Warm Water Species: (contact Neil Vanderbosch with questions or to request an application) Requests are due by March 1 of the year you wish to receive fish. Walleye eggs can be requested at a rate of one half quart of eggs, or 5,000 fry, per each acre of licensed surface water (ponds). There may be an exception for intensive culture facilities that raise walleye or muskellunge.
Cold Water Species: (contact Paula Phelps with questions or to request an application)
Water Appropriation Permits
A permit from the DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources is required for water appropriations that exceed 10,000 gallons per day or one million gallons per year. Appropriation is defined as the withdrawal, removal, or transfer of water from its source regardless of how the water is used. Therefore, any withdrawals from groundwater, springs, or water basins that exceed the above volume thresholds require a water appropriation permit. Additional information about the water appropriation program is available on the DNR website. Download an application .
All water appropriation permits require an annual water use report along with a processing fee. All aquatic farm licenses may be reviewed to determine compliance with water appropriation permit requirements. If you have questions, please contact the area hydrologist for the county in which the operation is located.
As part of your aquatic farm license renewal, you must complete and return an Aquatic Farm/Private Fish Hatchery Report. This report must be submitted even if no production or sales occurred during the licensing period.
Request an Application
Click here to request a license application.
License Renewal Information
License renewal packets will be mailed out to all current aquatic farm licensees in January. You can renew your license by completing and returning the enclosed license application.
Applications & Forms
Questions? Contact us!
Sean Sisler, Acting Aquaculture and Fish Health Consultant