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Pennsylvania Import Regulations

Last updated: February 9th, 2021

! 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  

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Nanette Korn
(717) 772-2852

Dr. Lauren Weiss
Chief, Regulations and Compliance Division
Pennslyvania Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission: 

Sean Hartzell
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Division of Environmental Services
Work Cell: 814-933-4471
Office: 814-359-5163

State Fish Health Authorities / Laboratories

- none

Aquaculture Industry Contacts

Pennsylvania Aquaculture Association

C/O Perdue Specialty Feeds
139 S. First St.
Catawissa, PA 17820
Tel (800) 358-6595:
FAX: (717) 356-2341
President: Andy Melick

PA Sport Fish Directory

PA Sea Grant - Extension:

Eric Obert
Phone: 814-217-9018

Pennsylvania Fish Import Regulations Summary

PA Fish and Boat Commission regulates and enforces fish importation and transportation (for stocking purposes), taking of fish and fish stocking.  Written authorization is required from the Commission for importation of any live aquatic animal into the State which are to be stocked into PA public waters.  Exemptions exist for tropical fish determined by the Commission as not being potentially dangerous.  Transportation in or through PA of injurious species listed in PA code Chapter 73 is prohibited (see below).

Pennsylvania aquaculture licensing and fish importation

Find the dealer application here

PA Department of Agriculture oversees most aquaculture and bait industry permitting requirements.  These include:

  •  Aquaculture Live Bait & Fish Dealers License
  •  Aquaculture Reptile & Amphibians Dealers License
  • Artificial Progagators License (game fish, bait, amphibians, reptiles and other aquatic organisms

Applications and additional information are obtainable at the PA Department of Agriculture website.

Fish Imporation Requirements: VHS Certification

The Department of Agriculture issued a VHS Quarantine Order restricting intra- and inter-state movement of VHS susceptible species (see below under Department of Agriculture authority - VHS Quarantine Order).  In summary, fish listed on the VHS susceptible species list originating from a Great Lake State outside of PA, and those originating from within PA inside of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario watersheds require VHS disease-free certification for importation or movement to other regions in the State.

VHS-susceptible species lots shall be tested in accordance with either the testing protocols described in the current edition of the Fish Health Section Bluebook adopted by the American Fisheries Society or the testing protocols of the Office of International Epizootiologies.  Accredited veterinarians (State or Federal Officials) or Certified Aquaculture Technicians are qualified to conduct sampling. 

Documentation required with importation of VHS susceptible species includes: 

                 i. completed Aquaculture Verification Certificate

                ii. copy of the test results reflecting that the lot is VHS test-negative. 

Sale and purchase of fish taken from Commonwealth waters

Commercial activities involving aquatic animals (live or dead) from Commonwealth waters are prohibited unless the activity is allowed through a baitfish propagator or dealers license (see PA Code 63.19):

Fish importation (for stocking) and transportation

Transportation of Live Fish into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania falls under Chapter 73 of the PA Code.  Written authorization is required for importation of live aquatic animals if they are to be stocked into public waters of the Commonwealth.  Fish importation to registered aquaculture and baitfish dealers is regulated by the PA Department of Agriculture (see above).  Permission is not required for the importation of tropical fish unless the Commission considers them to be potentially dangerous.

A list of species approved for importation and propagation is maintained by the Commission on an annual basis.

Restricted (e.g. triploid grass carp) and prohibited species are listed in PA Code Chapter 73.  Transportation of the prohibited species through the State of PA is unlawful. 

PA Code Chapter 73 can be reviewed at the following website:

Propagation and stocking / approved species / open and closed systems

Propagation and introduction of fish into Commonwealth waters is promulgated through PA Code 71.  The Bureau of Fisheries will maintain a list of species by watershed for which the Department of Agriculture may issue registrations for artificial propagation and registrations for dealers of live aquatic animals.  Restrictions and permitting requirements (from both the Commission and Department of Agriculture) exist for grass carp.  Certain restricted species (and/or gametes) may be raised in “closed system” facilities upon approval by the Commission.  Details on closed system requirements, grass carp importation, and stocking public waters can be reviewed in PA Code 71: