If you operate a fish farm in Wisconsin, you need to register with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and renew your registration annually. You are operating a fish farm if you hatch fish eggs or hold live fish for any of the following purposes:
Sale or distribution
Introduction into the waters of the state
Use as bait or fertilizer
Use as human food or animal feed
Holding live fish or fish eggs owned by another person
Like any farm, a fish farm is a complex business. You will need to contact the Department of Natural Resources to find out what environmental permits you will need - these vary depending on the nature of your operation. You may also need permits from your local government or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
We have about 2,500 fish farms registered in Wisconsin. Only about 350 of these meet the above definition and actually use their facilities for business or educational purposes. The rest are privately owned ponds where the owners stock fish for their own use. You are not required to register your recreational pond as a fish farm, but many pond owners find that it saves them money and inconvenience.
You will also be required to register your livestock premises location so that you can submit the fish farm registration. Please call 888-808-1910 or go to the website and register yourself at www.wiid.org. Take the seven-digit livestock premises code, and place it on Page 3 of the fish farm registration application before submitting it for approval.
Register your fish farm
- Register online at MyDATCP, OR
- Download and print a Fish Farm Registration Application and send to DATCP with payment to process, OR
- Contact the Aquaculture program associate with questions or to request a printed packet be sent to you.
Along with registration, fish farms may need one or more environmental permits from the Department of Natural Resources and other agencies. The DNR is responsible for implementing a number of permits applicable to fish farms as required by Wisconsin law. Read more about it in the Environmental Permits for Wisconsin Fish Farms fact sheet.