I’ve been doing some research lately into Aquaculture and Aquaponics lately because of my involvement with urban agriculture here in Harrisburg. The group who is overseeing the project has an opportunity to obtain a large commercial greenhouse for use and is considering what the options are for generating revenue and employment opportunities. One such possibility that has been discussed is raising fish for sale. Though there are many books and resources available on how to do so, in the context of operating and running a setup, we didn’t know what the legal and other requirements are.
Thankfully, there are not many hurdles to overcome if you want to raise fish commercially. The exact details of wanting to sell them for food is another question that has yet to be answered.
The requirements are an Artificial Propogation License, and to follow the laws governing what fish are appopriate to raise in which systems. In order to get the license, as of this writing (25.July.2011), the person to contact is Mary Bates at the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services. Her phone number is 717.772.2852. In addition to the license she can get you any other paperwork you may need. My experience when walking with Mary was very pleasant; she was extremely knowledgable and helpful within her area of work, and thoroughly explained the process of working to get a license, where on the web to find additional information, and so on.
In addition to the license, you will also want to get copies of the approved species lists. They are currently being updated and only the older regulations are available.
The process for getting the APL:
1. Call Mary and ask her for the license form and the approved species lists. If you, and she, have the time, discuss your project. She can then point you to any other paperwork specific to your needs.
2. Fill out the license. For the site information include GPS coordinates. This helps the inspecting officer.
3. Submit the form. Though there is a $150 fee, you do not pay it until you are approved.
4. Your form will be reviewed and then handed over to the Fish and Boat Commission, who will assign it to one of their officers to come out and inspect the site with you and insure everything meets the appropraite requirements.
5. The report from the Fish and Boat officer will be passed back to the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services for approval or denial.
6. You will be informed of the decision, at which time you will submit payment for the license, which is good for 5 years.
7. The total process can be expected to take 2-3 months, so please consider that when planning your project.
Lastly, you do not need a license to raise fish at home. It is only needed for commercial operations.