Ohio Import Regulations

Last updated: 9/28/16

! Important Notice !

Aquaculturists transporting or selling aquatic animals are responsible for following current regulations required by each state in which the activity occurs (selling or transporting) and are advised to contact state regulatory agencies responsible for permitting these activities.

State Aquaculture Regulatory Authorities  

Ohio Department of Agriculture:

Dr Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian

Ohio Dept. of Agriculture

Division of Animal Industry

8995 E. Main St., Bldg. 6

Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

Phone: 614/728-6220

Fax No: 614/728-6310

email: tforshey@agri.ohio.gov

Ohio Department of Natural Resources: 

Kevin Kayle

ODNR, Division of Wildlife

Fish Hatchery Program Administrator

ODNR, Division of Wildlife

2045 Morse Road; G-3

Columbus, OH 43229

Phone: (614) 265-6347

Fax: (614) 262-1143

email: kevin.kayle@dnr.state.oh.us

State Fish Health Authorities / Laboratories

Dr. Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian

Dr. Yan Zhang, Veterinarian

Ohio Department of Agriculture

Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory


Aquaculture Industry Contacts

Ohio Aquaculture Association


Ohio Aquaculture Extension:

State Extension Specialists:

Matthew A. Smith

Extension Aquaculture Specialist

OSU South Centers, College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences

1864 Shyville Road

Piketon, OH 45661

Office: 740-289-2071, ext 121

Fax: 740-289-4591

email: smith.11460@osu.edu

Website: https://southcenters.osu.edu/aquaculture

Ohio Aquaculture Regulation Information on ODNR website:


Ohio Fish Importation Regulations Summary

Ohio Aquaculture Regulation Information on ODNR website:

See ODNR Specialty Licenses & Permits

Fish importation into the state of Ohio

Live fish imports intended for sale in the state of Ohio from out of state suppliers require the following documents:

          a) Fish health inspection and testing report signed by a certified fish health inspector or veterinarian, showing disease free status (901:1-17-13 and 901:1-17-14 Administrative Code, see Ohio Department of Agriculture Oversight below for further information)

          b) Fish Importation Permit issued by OH Department of Agriculture (contact Department of Agriculture Aquaculture Coordinator)

          c) Transportation Permit issued by ODNR Wildlife Division (fee)

Intrastate movement of live fish requires a Transportation Permit from ODNR.  Current restrictions exist for movement within the state of VHS susceptible species  (see 2015 VHS Proclamation).

Permits required and obtained through ODNR include:

Aquaculture Facility Permits

Commercial Wholesale Permit

Fish Transport Permit

Baitfish Dealer Permit

Stocking Permit (only for public waters of the state)

Triploid White Amur (Triploid Grass Carp) Permit

1)  See ODNR Specialty Licenses & Permits


Ohio Department of Agriculture Oversight

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has veterinary authority for importation of live aquatic animals.

Live fish importation permits (AC901:1-17-13)

Salmonids (fish, eggs, sperm) importation requirements are found in AC901:1-17-13.

Remaining species (approved for import into OH) are covered in the blanket coverage of  901:1-17-01 General requirements and Ohio's 2015 VHS Proclamation.  For additional information and permit application contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture Aquaculture Coordinator.

2015 VHS Proclamation prohibits movement of VHS susceptible species from areas in the Lake Erie watershed across an established boundary line unless certain requirements are met.  See the VHS Proclamation Order for specific requirements. Update includes importation of emerald shiners from out of state to a location north of the line of demarcation without VHS testing.

Fish health certification requirements (AC901:1-17-14)

ODAG fish testing and inspection requirements are located in AC901:1-17-14.  In summary all lots on a farm need to be tested on a prevalence level of 5% at a 95% confidence level.  Some contingencies apply. 

Definitions are found in AC901:1-17-2.  These include “accredited laboratory”, “approved veterinarian”, “certificate of veterinary inspection”, and “certified fish health inspector”.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Oversight

Ohio aquaculture facility permit (ORC 1533.632)

Ohio residents rearing and propagating fish for sale require either a Class A or Class B aquaculture permit obtained through ODNR depending on the species being raised.  Class (A or B) is designated based on whether the species is classified as “unrestricted” or “restricted”.  Fees are required for aquaculture permits. Bait Dealer and Transportation permits can be obtained free with Aquaculture Permit, while a wholesale permit is not free with Aquaculture Permit.

For additional information and a list of approved (unrestricted and restricted) and prohibited species see ODNR Publication 5061.

Commercial wholesale permits (ORC 1533.631)

Commercial wholesale permits are required to sell freshwater fish at wholesale in Ohio.  Fees are required for Wholesale Permits.  Exemptions exist for sales under 500 pounds and persons selling under baitfish dealer permits.  Commercial Wholesale permits are under the same permit application required for a Fish Transportation Permit, and are valid for 1-year.

Fish transport permit (ORC 1533.301)

Persons transporting fish from outside or inside the state, for destination in Ohio must obtain an annual Fish Transportation Permit from ODNR.  Similar conditions and exemptions apply as for the commercial Wholesale Permit (above).  Fees are required for Fish Transport Permits unless included with Aquaculture Permits.  Exemptions exist for sales under 500 pounds and persons selling under a baitfish dealer permit. Fish transportation permit forms are available at ODNR’s Specialty Licenses & Permits website page.

Baitfish dealer permit (ORC 1533.40)

Persons who buy, sell, or deal in minnows, crayfish, or hellgrammites or collects the listed species for sale must obtain a Baitfish Dealer Permit from ODNR.  Permits are valid for 1-year and expire on 12/31.  A fee is required.  Baitfish species must be already established in Ohio.

Included as bait fish starting 2016 are bullheads (brown, black and yellow) and select sunfish species (bluegill, longear, green, orange-spotted, pumpkinseed, redear and warmouth).  These species are not collectable from the wild and must be obtained from a licensed source or reared in an Aquaculture setting.  Common carp (and all Cyprinus carpio variants) are now collectable species and can be sold as baitfish.

Stocking permit

Ohio Administrative Code 1501:31-13-01-7 requires individuals wishing to stock any species into waters of the state to obtain permission from the Chief of ODNR Division of Wildlife.  Health certification is required.  Contact the ODNR Aquaculture Contact person listed above for permit requirements.

Triploid White Amur (triploid grass carp) permit

Persons wishing to import or sell triploid white amur in Ohio must obtain written authorization from ODNR. See ODNR Specialty Licenses & Permits.  

Prohibited aquatic species

Injurious Aquatic Invasive Species are not permitted to be possessed without the approval of the Chief of ODNR Division of Wildlife.  The species list can be found in ODNR Publication 5490.