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Do you raise this breed of Tilapia (Oreochromis Urolepis Hornorum, and Oreochromis Mossambicus)? This is how they are regulated in your state.





Just go to, download the 1 or 2 page application, send it in with a check. You are requesting permission to possess “restricted Cichlidae”. Wait for them to call you with an inspection date. The inspection should take all of 15 minutes. Be ready to describe how you are going to do this as a small, home based business, and show how your property is above the floodplain, how your tanks are going to be protected from birds, and where you are going to dispose of the fish waste. (Fertilizer for your plants, duh!).


New York

He correctly pointed out that since a closed-loop, recirculating system is really the only possibility there; the state does not require a permit. He contacted Phil Hulbert ( at the Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Fisheries Dept.



Updated information! (A permit is required):

It is legal (only with a permit) to have Tilapia in only 6 counties of California (San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Imperial & Orange)… In any other county in California it’s illegal for any type of Tilapia.

To legally have Tilapia in California one must register as a State Permitted Aquaculture Facility.

Here is a link to the application

Mossambica & Hornorum are listed on the application… To get permitted to sell Blue Tilapia I just have to list it on the application… Same goes for any other Tilapia not listed.


North Carolina

There is only one permit that is necessary to have non-native fish in NC. (The address to mail it to is printed on the bottom of the form.) It can be downloaded here:

Although there are names and numbers listed on the website above, the form will eventually show up on the desk of Kyle Briggs at the NC Wildlife Resources Commission: (919) 707-0220 – so questions could be directed to him (ask for his extension). He was helpful to me, though I can’t be certain that he still works there.

If there are plans to sell fish for consumption, then an additional permit is necessary – from the NC Dept. of Agriculture, available for download here:

The contact there is Matt Parker: (252) 633-1477 -ask for his extension.


No permit required, just a few common sense requirements similar to those in FL. See the website for details.

All Mr. Cool there had to do was casually point out:



No Permit Required, for information call Kenya or her boss Susan at the Game and Fish commission at 1-800-364-4263 Option 1. I also found this interesting article about it:



No Permit Required Private water fishing impoundment: exemptions. 32-974.

The owner or tenant having possession and control of a private water fishing impoundment and desiring to use it for the propagation or raising of fish for private use or to be sold or used commercially may do so without securing or holding any state license, permit or stamp and without being limited as to numbers, time or manner of taking fish from such impoundment. is the website: Run a search for “prohibited species list”. Tilapia is not there.



No Permit Required: Under “fish permit procedures” click on permit guidelines. Tilapia is on the approved species list, and since they will be kept in an aquarium, no permit is required.

Also pointed out that you will need a “fish hauler’s and supplier’s” permit if you produce live fish for sale, but it is free.



No Permit Required, only “permission letter”. How to raise Tilipia in missouri In steps:


You must write to the Department of Conservation P.O Box 180 Jefferson City Mo 65102 phone # 573-751-4115 Atention DIRECTOR. You must ask for written permission to raise Tilapia T. Hornorum, and T. Mossambica and explain how you will raise them.

Closed loop system is the only permitted way. After written request has been submitted An Agent will contact you and request to see your system. Once they inspect your system and if they approve they will send you the approval letter.


More rules to be aware of:

-Must be inside home building or green house. Live organisms and eggs, parasites and diseases not possible to escape.

-Discharge of water is not permitted for gardens houseplants and or lawns. Must be discharged in a septic system.

-System may be aquaponic or recirculating system with no discharge of water.

-Please note city sewer is permitted to use for Water Changes.


Rhode Island

No Permit Required, Christine Dudley the Supervising Fresh Water Biologist at the Department of Environmental Management for the State of Rhode Island.


Telephone: (401) 789-0281.


There is no regulation of the possession of tilapia in a closed system in the state of Rhode Island. They would not likely survive out of doors here anyway, but it is illegal to place them in a system, which they could escape to the environment from. There are regulations regarding the sale of tilapia and other activities necessary to make a successful business of it.



No Permit Required, contact the Wildlife Department at (405)521-3721. They will tell you that you can keep tilapia, however, they cannot be sold as ‘live’ bait. To sell them for food, one must be a licensed aqua culturist.

(c) Tilapia:
(1) The sale and use of all Tilapia species as bait is prohibited.
(2) The stocking of all Tilapia species in any heated-water reservoir including Sooner, Konawa, and Boomer Reservoirs is prohibited.
(3) This shall not interfere with the sale of dead and or processed Tilapia for human food or the sale or transport of Tilapia species for the purpose of aquatic vegetation control in privately owned ponds.

[Source: Amended at 8 OK Reg 2005, eff May 13, 1991]

The website where this information was located-
Here is a link for the list of aquatic nuisance species- Tilapia is not there.



No Permit Required, from Dr. Debra Lawerence from the Dept of Agriculture 208-332-8500 If it’s a private system, not on a waterway, nothing is required. If it’s a commercial system (fish for sale), and not on a waterway, there is a 2 year commercial fish rearing license required, cost $25, and one inspection, but no specific requirements

– Idaho fish and Game 208-334-3700 No requirement

– Wildlife dept/fish 334-3791 No requirement





A Permit Required, Here’s how to get it:


Begin process by going to state of Michigan’s specific website,1607,7-125-1569_16979_21263—,00.html

Find “Facility and Research Permit Registration Application ” form and fill out and send into provided address. After the state receives your application, they will contact you to schedule a physical inspection of the premise were you would be operating your hatchery (approx 30-45days from initial application). This inspection is completed by a licensed veterinarian send out on behalf of the state. The inspection time will vary depending on the size of your facility, but my inspection took about 45min. After the inspection, the inspection report is send to the state for final approval (takes another 30days), after the department of agriculture approves you, the entire application is sent to the D.E.Q. (department of environmental quality) the also need to give their approval, to make sure your facility will not threaten any natural ecosystems. Entire process took about 90 days, but state was very easy to work with, just like every other form of government slow and steady.


On your Legal Issues page, the MI permit information is incomplete or outdated.
According to,4610,7-125-1569_16979_21263—,00.html (which is the link in the section):

A permit is only required for commercial ventures, ie selling fish to others.

“You do not need an Aquaculture Research Permit or Aquaculture Facility Registration if you are operating a retail bait outlets, retail ornamental fish facilities, persons using privately controlled waters for noncommercial purposes, public aquariums or zoos, and portable retail fishing concessions.”



A Permit Is Required, to register as a “fish farm”:

In order to obtain this permit you will first need to register livestock location at and obtain a 7-digit code to place on page 3 of the permit application.

This link is for a Fish Farm information .pdf file from the WDATCP web site. It includes the 4 pages Fish Farm registration application.
It is not too complicated. The first page is a social security number request form. The second page is instructions, followed by two pages of basic questions about who you are, the type of fish, water source, number of tanks, ponds or raceways, and planned use of the fish.
Other information that indicates that an importation permit along with a Fish Health Certificate may be required for bringing livestock or eggs into the state. There is a $90.00 non-refundable fee to obtain the importers permit. Apparently a copy of the permit must accompany incoming shipments.
Here is the link for the permit application.


NOTE: the “Fish Health Certificate” is good for a year. You renew it every year. If you want to import fingerlings or breeder colonies into Wisconsin, you just need the fish farm permit and the importation permit which will be granted to you because they have a Certificate on file.


Washington State

One must fill out a state form called “Fish Transport Application/ Permit” from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and pay a $24 fee. I included with the form a cover letter covering the following points. Use of fish, where kept, the water source, distance to the closest stream, and name of the fish supplier. They also needed a form supplied by Edgar Sanchez, Joan Thomas 360-902-2667 made the final decision.



A Permit is Required:

The process here in Ohio is relatively straightforward. You send a request to the ODNR for a class A aquaculture permit, list the species, include $50 and you are all set. Here is the web site” (just click on “Aquaculture” and then on “Aquaculture Class A and B).


No Permit is Required:

Steven J. Rider ( at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said no permits are required.

He suggested using a recirculate system but no permit is required if they are raised in ponds. He suggested if the ponds were near or connected to a public waterway that you should definitely contact him to make sure there aren’t any additional requirements.
The Department of Agriculture and Industries at 334-240-7171 said a Food Safety Permit is required to sell tilapia as food.

This permit is $50/year and they can fax or mail the form to you. You won’t need anything else unless you process (clean, filet, etc.) the fish prior to sale. If you do then you’ll need to contact USDA for a meat-processing license.
The Department of Conservation at 334-242-3849 said no permits
are required to sell tilapia as livestock as long as they come from a private pond or recirculate system. If they come from a public waterway though a Fish Dealer’s License is required.


New Jersey

No Permit is Required:

Fish and Wildlife says you do not need a permit for a contained system.


NJ Fish and Wildlife, Mark Boriek.

NJ state agency regarding aquaculture:

The phone number 609-292-8642.



An “artificial propagation license” is required:

In PA, to acquire an artificial propagation license which is required you must contact The Department Of Agriculture, Mary Dates, At 717-783-5301 and she will send you the application to fill out. After you submit the application when approved you pay $150.00 and receive your license the whole process is 4-6 weeks.”



No Permit is Required:

The procedure in Virginia is to fill out 2 forms:


(Under Authority of § 29.1-412, § 29.1-103, §29.1-417 of the Code of Virginia, 4 VAC 15-20-200)


APPLICATION PERMIT TO IMPORT CERTAIN NON-NATIVE (EXOTIC) WILDLIFE INTO VIRGINIA (Under Authority of VR 325-01-2, § 29.1-542 of the Code of Virginia)


After filling out the forms, and sending in your money, the department contacts you for a visit to your facility to see if the species in question will be able to escape into the wild.




Application 87-3-210 permit to import fish says ” no permit required for fish tanks” private or business. Please be responsible with tilapia and all other imported fish in Montana they have been seen in the Snake River in Montana. Eileen Ryce, Hatchery Section Chief, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1420 East 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620, Tel: 406-444-2448


Read Below from site link:
Certain invasive species that can threaten natural resources and their use have been designated as prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. It is unlawful (a misdemeanor) to possess, import, purchase, transport, or introduce these species except under a permit for disposal, control, research, or education. The prohibited invasive species in Minnesota include the following and any hybrids, cultivars, or varieties of the species listed below:

NO Tilapia listed!!!!

Regulated invasive and unlisted nonnative species

Regulated and unlisted invasive species are legal to possess, sell, buy, and transport, but they may not be introduced into a free-living state, such as being released or planted in public waters. The regulated invasive species are:

alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus)*
carp, koi (Cyprinus carpio)*
goldfish (Carassius auratus)*
rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax)*
tilapia (Oneochromis, Sartheradon, and Tilapia spp.)



Permit is Required:
It is legal to raise tilapia Mossambica already along with Nilotica and Blue Tilapia, however, the only hang-up was the T. Hornorum male. So in order to be approved to grow this specific breed I had to request an “experimental aquaculture permit.” Call the TWRA and request the permit. Once you obtain the permit, you then need to purchase a fish dealers license which costs $50.This can be purchased anywhere fishing licenses are sold.



Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA)

J. Eric Ganus
Fisheries Division Biologist
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
PO Box 40747
Nashville, TN 37204
Office: (615) 837-4255
Fax: (615) 781-6667



Permit is Required:

Matt O’Hara

Natural Resources Specialist



State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources


One Natural Resources Way

Springfield, IL 62702-1271


Fill out an Aquaculture Permit Application, Pay $50. Tilapia Breed is not on the approved species list. Just need to list the breed on the application and Matt O’Hara will inspect the facility for proper filtration and drainage since the breed is not on the approval list.



A Permit is Required:

Wyoming Game and Fish
It costs $182 plus they want a copy of a surety bond in the amount of $500.
The phone number of the man at the game and fish that was very helpful to me is (307)745-5180(307)745-5180 ext. 237

As for the private fishery license here is that link:

Also, here is a link to a brochure that the WY G&F has published about posing wildlife:


Aquatic Wildlife Stocking Permit needed:

Don Mitchell
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Region V – Tucson
555 N. Greasewood Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85745

Official government page shows that tilapia are not a restricted species in Arizona, which can be viewed here:

However, because they are coming from out of state he had me send in an Aquatic Wildlife Stocking Permit, for which there is no fee. The instructions can be viewed here:

The above page contains a link to the permit form, Form 2710-A, which can be viewed/downloaded here:



Commercial Live Bait and Fish Dealer’s license is required:

Anyone wanting to raise and sell fish of any kind, and a transportation permit (included with license fees) is required if you deliver. There is a $50.00 fee and all Species of fish to be raised/sold must be listed on the application available at:


South Carolina

No Required Permits needed for personal use, only if you plan on selling:

A commercial license and permit will be required.


Ms Barbara Hasty (

Phone number is: (803)734-3878.

Web address is Http://

Seller is responsible for supplying the buyer with “Proof of Possession”


South Dakota

No Permit Requierd:


South Dakota Dept of Fish Game and Parks

Brian Fletcher

Phone: (605) 381-9641

Importation licenses say any fish for aquarium use don’t require a permit, even Tilapia. You would just need to label the package “for aquarium use” to make sure no one mishandles the package. Brian Fletcher said that basically it’s ok so long as they are not stocked into any South Dakota waters (which include all open bodies of water in the state, on public or private land).



Farming of Tilapia for the ornamental fish trade is allowed in Alaska without a permit but under certain conditions:


BE WARNED that no farming of Tilapia is allowed for human food or sport fishing purposes. Farming of Tilapia for food is a misdemeanor in Alaska and could be a class-A misdemeanor if any of the fish or their diseases are released into the environment intentionally or otherwise and impact natural fish populations.


Please :

Bob Piorkowski, Ph. D.

Fish Resource Permit Program Coordinator

Alaska Department of Fish and Game-SF

Box 115526, 1255 W. 8th Street

Juneau, AK 99811-5526

(907) 465-6109 phone (907) 465-2772 fax



Permit is Required:

This one has a twist! Hornorum is prohibited in Colorado but it is established that Nile, Blue, and Mossambica are allowed “with a permit”. Purchase a breeder colonies permit with either Nile or Blue Tilapia as the male in the colony with Mossambica females!

The Hornorum breed would not be permitted.


Below are the legal requirements for raising Tilapia in Colorado:


Scott Leach, who is in charge of aquaculture at the Colorado Department of Agriculture,

Tilapia is a prohibited species in Colorado. This means a permit is required to raise the fish. The only species that Division of Wildlife allows are Blue, Mozambique, Nile and their hybrids. The aquaculture permit application can be filled out here: Aquaculture permits application and sent to Scott Leach. His contact information is below. There is a $100 annual fee for the permit.


Scott Leach

Colorado Department of Agriculture

700 Kipling St., Ste. 4000

Lakewood, CO 80215

Office: 303.239.4295

Fax: 303.239.4164



Some breeds require a permit, some not:

There are three species that may be aquacultured with an Exotic Species Permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife:


Blue, Nile, and Mozambique Tilapia:

The ONLY tilapia species you can have on your property for personal use (i.e. not for sale to the public) without an Exotic Species Permit is MOZAMBIQUE tilapia. In order to be in possession of Mozambique tilapia without a permit you must maintain a copy of your exotic species transport invoice with a valid permit number from the group you purchased the fish from.


It’s a 3 Step Process:

1. You have a TCEQ permit exemption form that says you don’t have any wastewater runoff. You can download it from their website and I don’t think it requires much effort on your part. Contact Melinda Luxemburg with TCEQ at 512-239-4541 or email at for more information on how to obtain this permit.

2. Then send it to Rick Garza at Texas Department of Agriculture to obtain an aquaculture license 512-936-2430 or email at You will have to complete some paperwork with Rick as well.

3. Finally, you will then need to send in a copy of these permits along with your completed application to Luci Cook-Hildreth at TPWD. You can download it at click on Exotic Species Permit or Renewal (PWD-1026) (Word51 KB) (for commercial and agricultural operations) and the application fee of $263. Once TPWD has received all this information a TPWD biologist will get in touch with you to make arrangements to inspect your facility. Once your facility has passed inspection your permit will be issued. All permits expire on December 31st in the year they are issued. There is a $27 fee to renew the Exotic Species permit each year. For help, at TPWD, contact Luci Cook-Hildreth at 512-389-8750.


West Virginia

Permit is Required:

Wildlife Resources Div – Charleston, WV 25305 – (304)558-2771

Ask for a Mr. Brett Preston. He need to know my mailing address and the approximate number of fish I intended to bring into the state, and whether or not they were in a closed recirculating system or a pond. There was no fee associated with the permit or with the importation of the fish for home use. The form itself is mailed from the Wildlife Resources Division to your home and takes approximately a week to arrive.


Permit is Required:

An application must be submitted in advance of import. The fee is $50 for a single entry (one time use) permit which is valid for 1 year or $200 for a multiple use permit, also valid for 1 year. Once received, a site inspection is required prior to issuing a permit. Another item to consider is that the source facility should be certified as disease free and should be able to provide documentation attesting to this. For the health requirements you may want to contact Dr. Allen Riggs

Niloticus tilapias and Honorum tilapias are not allowed for import thus no permits will be issued for them. Mossambicus and aureus (blue) tilapias are allowed.


New Hampshire

Go Global Logistics (in partnership with Tilapia Vita Farms)


Fish health Certificates for NH:

NH Fish and Game.

Jason M. Smith

Hatchery Supervisor

New Hampshire Fish & Game Dept.

11 Hazen Drive

Concord, NH 03301




Permit is Required:

Jon Sjoberg, Supervising Biologist with Nevada Department of Wildlife, 702-486-5127. Jon explained that they had spent millions eradicating tilapia from the upper Virgin River because they were threatening some other fish that were on the endangered list. Needless to say, they are still found in Lake Mead, you can catch all you want but they better be dead if you get caught with them. Five years and/or $500 fine and they are not bashful about enforcing it.

The only way to get a permit is for commercial use, in addition to a simple application that can be downloaded from Once there go to Licenses and Laws and scroll down to Commercial Possession Permit under the Wildlife Collection and Possession category. Pretty straight forward application however you do have to include brief sketch of your operation and explain how you will prevent their escape, same application for lions and tigers I guess, as well as keep the birds from potentially transporting the fish or their eggs from your property. Cost is $500 per year and the permit is good from July1 thru June 30 regardless of when you apply. Takes about a month processing time and you do have to have an importation permit anytime you bring in new stock from out of state. Cost for the additional permit is $15.00 and 2-week minimum processing time.



The Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Inspection and Appeals should be contacted as soon as possible to determine permits needed for an aquaculture operation. The following laws and regulations are summarized for convenience. In addition to these laws, local zoning, health, and other regulations may apply.

These licenses are available from the Department of Natural Resources: 900 East Grand, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

Aquaculture unit license: Needed to operate a hatchery, to engage in the business of propagating fish in private waters, or to hold fish for commercial purposes. The state conservation officer in your area must approve the application before a license can be issued. The licensee is allowed to possess, propagate, buy, sell, deal in, and transport fish produced from breeding stock lawfully acquired.

Operators must secure breeding stock from licensed private fish hatcheries in Iowa or from lawful sources outside the state. The Department of Natural Resources can provide a list of licensed Iowa fish hatcheries and a list of conservation officers for each county.

When purchasing fish, keep the bill of sale that allows possession to spawn, rear, and harvest fish. Additionally, anyone bringing fish or fish eggs into Iowa that are not native must submit an application to the DNR and receive a permit prior to transporting the fish into the state. The DNR may require certification that the source of fish or fish eggs is disease-free



Permits Required:


Personal consumption means you cannot sell, barter, exchange or trade tilapia; they are for your own personal use.

Facility: Must be completely enclosed, such as in a garage, in a house or in a green house.

Permits Required: ODFW Transport Permit. Work with your fish seller to secure a
transportation permit from ODFW.

Species allowed: Oreochromis mossambicus, Oreochromis niloticus, Oreochromis urolepis and Sarotherodon melanotheron and any hybrid of these species. Except it is Prohibited (illegal, unlawful) to use any hybrid of Oreochromis aurous commonly called Blue tilapia.

List of Species which can be legally used or hybrids of these species
Genus Species Subspecies Common Name
Oreochromis mossambicus mossambicus Mozambique tilapia
Oreochromis mossambicus bassamkhalafi Mozambique tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis Baringo Nile tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus canellatus Nile tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus eduardianus Nile tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus filoa Tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus niloticus Nile tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus sugutae Nile tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus tana Nile tilapia
Oreochromis niloticus vulcani Nile tilapia
Oreochromis urolepis hornorum Wami tilapia
Oreochromis urolepis urolepis Rufigi tilapia
Sarotherodon melanotheron melanotheron Blackchin tilapia
Sarotherodon melanotheron heudelatii Mango Fish

Other Rules which apply:

Only animals certified as disease-free from the vendor may be purchased.
No live tilapia may be released into water of this State.
Facilities housing nonnative wildlife and associated records are subject to inspection by any State Police officer or department representative. Inspection of the facilities may
take place without warrant or notice, but unless prompted by emergency or exigent
circumstances, shall be limited to regular and usual business hours, including weekends
(OAR 635-056-0100).

Fish Transport License:

All persons transporting fish in Oregon need to have a fish transport permit. Fish transport permits cost $12 and if you are buying from a licensed propagator, they will obtain this for you. If you are a researcher, you will need to pay for your permit before it can be issued. Please contact Guy S. Chilton for an invoice.


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