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South Dakota Import Regulations

Last update: Febrary 10th, 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 

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks:

John Lott
Chief of Fisheries
South Dakota Dept. Game, Fish and Parks

Aquaculture Industry Contacts

Dr. Alvaro Garcia
South Dakota State University
154 Berg Ag Hall (SAG), Box 2207D
Brookings, SD  57007
(605) 688-4940

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Regulatory Authority

Private fish hatcheries

South Dakota Administrative Rules 41:09:07

Aquaculture licensing in South Dakota has 3 classifications: 

          aquaculture hatchery license,
          fee fishing hatchery license,
          pond management hatchery license

Applications for a private fish hatchery license must be completed on forms provided by the department.  An annual fish health inspection is required for any licensed aquaculture facility containing salmonids.

Importation of fish 41:09:08 (excerpt):

A valid fish importation permit issued by the department is required to import live fish or any fish reproductive product into South Dakota.  Exemptions exist for aquarium fish and boundary water angler activities.   The application must be received at least ten working days prior to the date of importation if the application is from a new facility or supplier.  The application period shall be waived for a fish importation permit if the facility or supplier has a valid fish health inspection certification or fish health report on file with the department. 

Permit applications and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Importation Permits can be obtained at the SDGFP website:

Importation regulations:

Fish importation Application: fishimportationapplication.pdf

Fish health inspection and accepted guidelines.

A fish health inspection may only be conducted by a fish pathologist, fish health inspector, or a recognized fish health specialist approved by the department. A fish health inspection shall be conducted according to procedures in "Suggested Procedures for the Detection and Identification of Certain Finfish and Shellfish Pathogens," 2004 Edition.

41:09:08 also contains (not limited to) the following:
          Application requirements for fish importation permit
          Diseases of regulatory concern
          Importation requirements for facility containing salmonids
          Importation requirements for non salmonid facility

Fish import permits are also available online at:

Bait and biological specimens 41:09:04

Only licensed bait dealers may take, possess, or transport bait and biological specimens in South Dakota.  Exemptions exist for licensed anglers.

Baitfish licensing is broken down into the following categories:
Resident retail bait dealer                     
                Resident wholesale bait dealer             
                Nonresident wholesale bait dealer       
                Export bait dealer                               
                Nonresident retail bait dealer    

Prohibited species

41:07:01:11.  Introduction of nonnative fish into state waters prohibited. No person may release a fish, mollusk, reptile, crustacean, or amphibian not native to South Dakota in any water in the state, other than aquaria, without written authorization from the commission.