Aquaponics Licenses & Permits

Aquaponics Licenses and Permits

Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising aquatic species) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) and can be a commercial or private venture.

Interest in private home aquaponics systems is increasing, and Floridians should be Aquaponicsaware of the regulations that pertain to personal aquaponics projects.

Commercial aquaponics is also becoming popular.  These businesses include vendors that sell food products to the public and vendors that sell supplies for aquaponic systems.

Aquatic species that are left over from aquaponics projects may not be released into Florida waters.  It's illegal to release any nonnative species in Florida.

Permits to use aquaponics for producing food

For production and sale of aquatic animals (fish, crayfish, prawns) by commercial businesses or private individuals

  • Aquaculture Certificate External Website of Registration issued by the Florida Deptartment of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Aquaculture
  • Restricted species authorization (if using species whose use is restricted in your region such as tilapia or Australian red claw crayfish) issued by FDACS
  • Food permit External Website (if selling products for human consumption) issued by FDACS Division of Food Safety
  • Herb, leafy greens, and vegetable production may be regulated by FDACS Division of Fruit and Vegetables External Website 

For personal use only (no sales of aquatic animals)

  • No permit needed if aquatic species are produced for personal use only (not sold)
    and acquired in Florida
  • Resident Fish Dealer's license if purchasing fish from sellers outside Florida
  • Conditional aquatic species cannot be used
  • Conditional species permits are not issued for personal use

Permits for vendors that sell aquaponics systems

  • Resident fish dealer's license (RFD) issued by FWC if selling live fish to the public (the RFD does not allow for the sale of conditional species)
  • Conditional species permit issued by FWC (must be held in conjunction with an RFD) if selling those species to customers that also possess a conditional species permit

Aquatic species for aquaponics systems

Blue and Nile Tilapia

  • Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus), Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) and hybrids of these two species can be used in commercial aquaponics systems, and home aquaponics in the Northeast, North Central, South, and Southwest FWC regions
  • Permit requirements for blue and Nile tilapia vary by FWC region
    • No permit is needed to possess blue and Nile tilapia in the Northeast, North Central, South, and Southwest FWC regions
    • A conditional species permit is required to possess blue and Nile tilapia in the Northwest region
  • Vendors that sell aquaponics systems may use blue or Nile tilapia (or hybrids of these two species) in the South, Southwest, North Central and Northeast FWC regions

 Wami tilapia (Oreochromis urolepis) and Mozambique tilapia (O. mossambicus)

  • Are conditional species and require authorization for live possession, sale and transfer throughout Florida.
  • May be used in commercial systems if authorized by an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration and Restricted Species Authorization issued by FDACS

All other Tilapia

  • Other tilapia not referenced above are prohibited and are not allowed for use in any aquaponics systems (no prohibited species allowed for use in aquaponics systems)

 Australian red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus)

  • May be used in commercial systems if authorized by an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration and Restricted Species Authorization issued by FDACS

Malaysian prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii)

  • May be used in commercial or personal systems
  • No permit is required for personal systems
  • An Aquaculture Certificate of Registration is required for use in commercial systems

Florida crayfish (Procambarus alleni)

  • Native species that may be used without permit in personal systems
  • Can be harvested from local areas
  • An Aquaculture Certificate of Registration is required for use in commercial systems 

Links to other resources



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