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Fish farming in Wisconsin

Fishing Wisconsin

Farm pond
What does it take to establish a fish farm?

Although Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is responsible for the annual registration of fish farms, fish import permits for live fish and eggs and all matters related to fish health, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remains an important contact for new and established fish farmers.

Do you need a DNR environmental permit?

Based on the way you plan to operate your aquaculture facility or fish farm ponds, you may need to apply for certain environmental permits from the DNR. Whether you are a new fish farmer or have an established operation you should contact a DNR Fish Farm Environmental Permits Coordinator to find out whether environmental permits are necessary for your facility.

The Fish Farm Environmental Permits Coordinator may ask you to complete a questionnaire about how you plan to operate your existing or proposed fish farm. The questionnaire helps DNR determine if any of the specific environmental permits might apply to your fish farm.

The types of environmental permits which may be needed for aquaculture, but are not limited to, include:

You can also download our fact sheet Environmental permits for Wisconsin fish farms PUB FH-059 [PDF].

Many of our staff have heavy permit workloads, and it may take three months or longer to receive your DNR permits. As a result, please contact DNR early in your project planning to determine what permits you may need. Remember that if you begin operation or construction without your permits, you may be subject to enforcement actions. Other state, federal or local permits may also be required. It is the responsibility of the fish farmer to obtain all necessary permits.

If you are working in or near a wetland, then the Army Corp of Engineers may also have jurisdiction for your project. Please remember to investigate all local, state and federal permits.

Note: The information provided on this web page is for general orientation purposes only. Do not rely solely on the information provided on these Web pages. For more information, please contact your local Fish Farm Environmental Permits Coordinator.