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Fisheries Management

Fish farming in WisconsinNatural waterbody permitting

A permit is required from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for any DATCP-registered fish farm to use a natural body of water for their aquaculture operation. Section 29.733, Wisconsin Statutes establishes the permit program, and NR 19, Wisconsin Administrative Code explains the permit process and requirements for operating a fish farm in a natural body of water.

A waterbody that was licensed by DNR on January 1, 1998 as a private fish hatchery may be eligible for a Grandfathered NR 19 permit. Otherwise, the use of a natural body of water for fish farming is limited to freeze-out ponds, and requires an Initial NR 19 Permit. Under the Initial NR 19 permit review, a permit is only issued if DNR determines that no substantial public interest exists in the body of water and that no public or private rights in the body of water will be damaged. If a property is sold, a permit is required to transfer an NR 19 permit to the new owner.

To apply for an NR 19 permit, fill out Form 3600-227 [PDF] and submit it along with the necessary attachments to your local Fish Farm Environmental Permits Coordinator.

For more information, you can download our factsheets Natural waterbody permits for fish farms [PUB FH-060, PDF] , Environmental permits for Wisconsin fish farms [PUB FH-059, PDF], or contact your local DNR Fish Farm Environmental Permits Coordinator.

Note: The information provided on this web page is for general orientation purposes only. Do not rely solely on the information provided on these web pages. For more information, please contact your local DNR Fish Farm Environmental Permits Coordinator.

Last revised: Saturday August 20 2016