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New Aquaculture Facilities

If you are planning to operate a fish farm in Michigan, your farm will need to be registered as an Aquaculture Facility and may also need additional permits depending upon the particular circumstances of your operation. In Michigan, you are considered to be operating a fish farm if you are engaged in any aspect of commercial husbandry of aquaculture species in privately controlled water.

As with any agricultural business, navigating the required regulations for a fish farm can be daunting. Michigan's Quality of Life (QOL) departments (i.e. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) are committed to helping you with your project and will provide assistance with new and expanding operations as they move through the regulatory process.

Familiarizing yourself with regulations that may affect your business, in particular reading the Regulatory Guidebook, is important before pursuing any registrations or permits. In addition, preparing a project plan and contacting the QOL departments to request a pre-application review is highly recommended. This will help to clarify specific application requirements in support of your business and clarify timing of various permits.

When preparing your project plan for the QOL group discussion, consider some of the following questions:

  1. Where will the facility be located (what county, nearby flood plains, public waters) and what type of facility (recirculating, flow through, pond)?
  2. What is the purpose of the facility (food production, stocking, etc.) and how much of each species do you intend to grow each year?
  3. Do you plan to process fish on-site for sale as food?
  4. What is your water source (ground water, surface water) and what is your plan for water discharge (ground, surface water, POTW)?
  5. What are your plans for animal waste and mortality disposal (compost and land application, landfill, etc.)?
  6. What biosecurity and emergency measures do you have in place?

When you are ready to discuss your project plans, or if you need more information, please feel free to contact the Aquaculture Program Manager at 517-284-5685.

Additional Resources

Site Selection Plans for New and Expanding Aquaculture Facilities in Michigan
Siting Guidebook - Commercial Aquaculture in Michigan

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