Minnesota Import Regulations

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Last Updated: 9/15/16

! 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 Authority

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

Sean Sisler
Minnesota Division of Natural Resources
651-259-5213
Fax 651-297-4916
sean.sisler@state.mn.us

State Fish Health Authorities / Laboratories

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Minnesota
1333 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108-1098
Nicholas Phelps
phelp083@umn.edu
(612) 624-7450
Fax: (612) 624-8707

https://www.vdl.umn.edu/services-fees/aquaculturefisheries

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Fish Pathology Laboratory
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St Paul, MN 55155-4025
Ling Shen
ling.shen@state.mn.us
(651) 259-5138
Fax: (651) 297-4916

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Oversight:

Summary of MN import requirements:

Nearly all regulatory authority for aquaculture and baitfish is promulgated though MN DNR.

Fish Importation

Importation falls under Minnesota Statutes, sections 17.4986, and  17.4985: In summary,  a person may not import fish into or stock fish in the state without first obtaining a transportation permit with a disease certification, as prescribed under section 17.4985, subdivision 5, when required or a bill of lading from the commissioner, unless the person is exempted.

For Licensed facilities:

 Commissioner shall issue transportation permits to import:

          (1) indigenous and naturalized species except trout, salmon, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, and sperm from any source to a standard facility;

          (2) trout, salmon, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, from a nonemergency enzootic disease area to a containment facility if the fish are certified within the previous year to be free of certifiable diseases, except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia may be imported into areas where the disease has been identified as being present; and

          (3) trout, salmon, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, from a facility in a nonemergency enzootic disease area with a disease-free history of three years or more to a standard facility, except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia may be imported into areas where the disease has been identified as being present.

If a source facility in a nonemergency enzootic disease area cannot demonstrate a history free from disease, aquatic life may only be imported into a quarantine facility.

Emergency enzootic disease area  See Minnesota Statutes, section 17.4986, subd. 3.

Except as otherwise provided and except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease may be imported into areas where the disease has been previously introduced, fish may be imported from emergency enzootic disease areas only as fertilized eggs under the following conditions:

          (1) to be imported into a standard facility, fertilized eggs must have a disease-free history for at least five years;

          (2) to be imported into a containment facility, fertilized eggs must have a disease-free history for at least three years; or

          (3) to be imported into a quarantine facility, fertilized eggs may have a disease-free history of less than three years.

Disease-free history See Minnesota Statutes, section 17.4986, subd. 4.

Disease-free histories must include the results of a fish health inspection. When disease-free histories of more than one year are required for importing salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, the disease history must be of consecutive years that include the year previous to, or the year of, the transportation request.

Aquatic farm license

Aquaculture farm licenses are required to raise aquatic animals for sale.  Various endorsements of the aquatic farm license are also required.  These include minnow dealer and retailer licenses, minnow exporting license aquatic farm vehicle endorsement, minnow dealer vehicle license, minnow retailer vehicle license, exporting minnow vehicle license, fish vendor license, sucker egg taking license, and game fish packers license.

 See Minnesota Statutes 17.4984 and 17.4988 for additional licensing and fee information.

 MN approved aquatic animal species

Species approved for importation to the State (standard rules) must be indigenous and/or naturalized to MN. Game fish and minnow species are defined in MN statutes 97A.015.

 Fish Health Inspections

Minnesota Statutes, section 17.4982

Subd. 10a.Fish collector.

"Fish collector" means an individual who has been certified under section 17.4989 to oversee the collection of fish samples from a facility or a water body for disease testing by a certified laboratory.

Subd. 12.Fish health inspection.

          (a) "Fish health inspection" means an on-site, statistically based sampling, collection, and testing of fish in accordance with processes in the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases, published by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) to test for causative pathogens. The samples for inspection must be collected by a fish health inspector or a fish collector in cooperation with the producer. Testing of samples must be done by an approved laboratory.

          (b) The inspection for viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN), and infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN) in salmonids and for VHS in nonsalmonids must include at a minimum viral testing of ovarian fluids at the 95 percent confidence level of detecting two percent incidence of disease.

          (c) The inspection for certifiable diseases for wild fish must follow the guidelines of the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases.

Subd. 13.Fish health inspector.

"Fish health inspector" means an individual certified as a fish health inspector or an aquatic animal health inspector by the American Fisheries Society or state, federal, or provincial resource management agency, except that a certification may not be made by an inspector who has a conflict of interest in connection with the outcome of the certification.

Minnesota Statutes, section 17.4991

Subd. 3.Fish health inspection.

          (a) An aquatic farm propagating salmonids, catfish, or species on the viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) susceptible list published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, and having an effluent discharge from the aquatic farm into public waters must have a fish health inspection conducted at least once every 12 months by a certified fish health inspector. Testing must be conducted according to laboratory methods of the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases, published by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE).

          (b) An aquatic farm propagating any species on the VHS susceptible list and having an effluent discharge from the aquatic farm into public waters must test for VHS virus using the guidelines of the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases. The commissioner may, by written order published in the State Register, prescribe alternative testing time periods and methods from those prescribed in the Fish Health Blue Book or the OIE Diagnostic Manual if the commissioner determines that biosecurity measures will not be compromised. These alternatives are not subject to the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14 and section 14.386 does not apply. The commissioner must provide reasonable notice to affected parties of any changes in testing requirements.

          (c) Results of fish health inspections must be provided to the commissioner for all fish that remain in the state. All data used to prepare and issue a fish health certificate must be maintained for three years by the issuing fish health inspector, approved laboratory, or accredited veterinarian.

          (d) A health inspection fee must be charged based on each lot of fish sampled. The fee by check or money order payable to the Department of Natural Resources must be prepaid or paid at the time a bill or notice is received from the commissioner that the inspection and processing of samples is completed.

          (e) Upon receipt of payment and completion of inspection, the commissioner shall notify the operator and issue a fish health certificate. The certification must be made according to the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases by a person certified as a fish health inspector.

          (f) All aquatic life in transit or held at transfer stations within the state may be inspected by the commissioner. This inspection may include the collection of stock for purposes of pathological analysis. Sample size necessary for analysis will follow guidelines listed in the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases.

          (g) Salmonids, catfish, or species on the VHS susceptible list must have a fish health inspection before being transported from a containment facility, unless the fish are being transported directly to an outlet for processing or other food purposes or unless the commissioner determines that an inspection is not needed. A fish health inspection conducted for this purpose need only be done on the lot or lots of fish that will be transported. The commissioner must conduct a fish health inspection requested for this purpose within five working days of receiving written notice. Salmonids and catfish may be immediately transported from a containment facility to another containment facility once a sample has been obtained for a health inspection or once the five-day notice period has expired.

Minnow importation and transportation

Minnesota Statutes, section 97C.515

A person may not bring live minnows into the state except as provided in this section.

Permit for transportation. (a) A person may transport live minnows through the state with a permit from the commissioner. The permit must state the name and address of the person, the number and species of minnows, the point of entry into the state, the destination, and the route through the state. The permit is not valid for more than 12 hours after it is issued.

(b) Minnows transported under this subdivision must be in a tagged container. The tag number must correspond with tag numbers listed on the minnow transportation permit.

(c) The commissioner may require the person transporting minnow species found on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, to provide health certification for viral hemorrhagic septicemia. The certification must disclose any incidentally isolated replicating viruses, and must be dated within the 12 months preceding transport.

Private fish hatchery or aquatic farm.
Live minnows used for feeding fish at a licensed private fish hatchery or aquatic farm must be obtained within the state. Dead minnows may be imported for feeding hatchery or aquatic farm fish according to section 97C.341, paragraph (d).

Special permits - See section 97C.515.

Other pertinent Minnesota Statute sections:

97C.501 Minnow licenses required

97C.525 Restrictions on transportation of minnows

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