The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is responsible for administering laws and rules pertaining to private game fish and nongame fish (including shellfish) hatcheries in the state. Information on licenses for rearing and sale of fish is presented here. Regulations are found in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) and Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR). Copies are available from ODFW upon request.
- Hatchery operators must obtain their own eggs or fish from a source approved by ODFW. When surpluses exist at state facilities, eggs may be sold by ODFW.
- Applications for fish propagation licenses are reviewed by ODFW staff to assure proposed operations will not interfere with existing stocks of fish. An ODFW biologist will contact the applicant to look at the proposed facility or discuss the planned operation.
- Facilities and records are subject to inspection at any given time by an Oregon State Police officer or representative of ODFW.
- Failure to comply with pertinent regulations may be grounds for termination of the permit or license.
- A fish transport permit must be obtained before live fish or eggs, including mollusks and crustaceans, are transported or released into any waters, public or private, within the state (ORS 498.222; ORS 509.115). Requests for permits to ship live eggs or fish into Oregon must be accompanied by fish health information, certified by a pathologist acceptable to ODFW, showing results of a current disease inspection (OAR 635-07-550-590). Disease certification may be required for shipments within the state. ODFW fish transport permits are required for release of any fish (game, nongame, or ornamental species) into ponds either public or private. ODFW does not become involved in import or shipment of aquaria species commonly sold in pet stores unless the fish are to be reared in ponds.
- Transfer of stocks or species of fish from one to another area of the state is subject to approval by ODFW. Some stocks or species of fish are not authorized for introduction to various areas or watersheds of the state. Requests for transport permits and fish propagation licenses are treated on a case-by-case basis.
- Additional permits or licenses may be required by other federal, state, or local agencies, or for specific types of operations.
- Any facility which rears trout or other salmonid species must submit annual samples to ODFW Fish Health Services for whirling disease (Myxobolus) testing.
- Additional regulations apply to the propagation of Controlled Fish Species, including tilapia, barramundi, whiteleg shrimp, and giant river prawns (OAR 635-056-0075).
A fish propagation license allows rearing of fish (including mollusks and crustaceans) for sale by a private hatchery operator as authorized by ORS 497.228, Chapter 139 Oregon Laws 1987, and OAR 635-07-650.
- Licenses cost $135.00 per year and must be renewed each calendar year.
- Fish propagators are responsible for obtaining transport permits prior to moving live fish to or from their facilities no matter who transports the live fish (OAR 635-07-600 to OAR 635-07-625) and must provide a copy of the permit to the purchaser.
- Reports of total numbers of fish and pounds sold are required annually at the time of license renewal.
- Angling licenses are NOT required of persons fishing in this type of licensed facility, but the operator is required to provide receipts to customers to show where the fish were caught (purchased).
- Lists of fish propagation licensees who sell fish to others (pdf)
Fish propagation licenses are not required for private ponds that are stocked with fish from commercial sources and from which no fish are sold; however, special regulations apply to the following species (Controlled Fish Species OAR 635-056-0075):
Grass Carp – requires a grass carp permit
Tilapia – Raising tilapia for personal consumption (pdf)
The landowner and the immediate family may legally fish in these waters without an angling license. However, others must have a fishing license to fish in these waters. A fish transport permit is required to plant fish in private ponds.
Applying for a Fish Propagation License
In addition to a fish propagation license, a sturgeon propagation permit is required in order to propagate for sale or sell any live sturgeon or sturgeon eggs as authorized by ORS 497.325, Chapter 497 Oregon Laws 2007, and OAR 635-007-0725. 1. Permits cost $3000.00 per year and must be renewed each calendar year. This fee includes the cost of the fish propagation license. 2. The Department is authorized to issue up to 15 permits total, with first preference going to persons currently holding permits 3. Fish propagators are responsible for obtaining transport permits prior to moving live sturgeon to or from their facilities no matter who transports the live sturgeon (OAR 635-007-0735) and must provide a copy of the permit to the purchaser. 4. Reports of total numbers of fish and pounds sold are required annually at the time of permit renewal. 5. Angling licenses are NOT required of persons fishing in this type of permitted facility, but the operator is required to provide receipts to customers to show where the fish were caught (purchased).
Applying for a Sturgeon Propagation Permit
Information about Sturgeon Propagation (pdf)
Fish Propagation and Licensing Resources
If you have further questions on private hatcheries, please contact:
Guy S. Chilton
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE
Salem, Oregon 97302