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I ran into this when researching whether tilapia would be a good idea for me to raise. It seems that the state of California wants its share of my money, about 800 dollars of it, if they can say what I am doing is aquaculture. But, if my systems are simply a hobby, as opposed to a business, it looks as though I can skirt by. Sort of. If I only keep koi or goldfish. I think. The fish are still regulated, and there's this link for the very same form that demands my money after the statement.

Wait.

If my koi or goldfish happen to have babies.. Does that make me an aquaculturalist?

I'm sooooo confused. Anybody want to straighten the laws of California out for us all?

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Cali is a Nazi state! That's why I left...

Good luck to you.

I wonder the same thing. Because there's no drainage I don't see the risk of the fish escaping into waterways...

Mere possession is illegal. Transportation needs a permit too. I say f$%k the police. This is my food, it's what I eat.


50 healthy tilapia in an ibc is not an environmental threat

I'm confused - does CA understand the difference between AP and aquaculture? AP fish drive the system and may or may not be raised for consumption. Personally, I wouldn't share a thing with them (the gov't) - find a private breeder and do your fish business under the table. Should you choose to go commercial in the future, well, cross that bridge....

Interesting comment Carey - you left "Nazi" CA for CHINA??

Ha ha. That comment is so wrong, for so many reasons....Unfortunately, I'll be there again (China) end of the month.

Tilapia are considered 'invasive' fish and are regulated to varying degrees by several states.  Tilapia are only legal in 6 counties in  CA: San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los
Angeles, Imperial & Orange
. Even then it requires a permit. Not all varieties of Tilapia are allowed. The permit application is between $700 and $800. The fine for contraband Tilapia is up to $10,000.  I believe the contact dept. is California Fish and Game - Fisheries dept.

Not a pretty picture really.  Options seem to be: pay up, go underground, move. Wish I had better news.

Let me break it down, and separate myth from reality. Sam, you're half right. Tilapia raised for commercial human consumption require an aquaculture permit thru DFG, and DFG will not approve a permit in NorCal. Very true. However, tilapia is not illegal to possess, transport, or raise anywhere in California. Believe me on this one. I have had many conversations and emails with varying levels of DFG staff, and I am 100% sure of this statement. DFG may tell you otherwise, or agree with me, depending on who you speak to. California works like this: rather than generating a list of all the species that ARE ALLOWED, they made a list of species that ARE NOT ALLOWED. The list is here:

https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=28427

Page 10, family cichlidae. There are four species of tilapia commonly farmed for the table. Niles and blues ARE PROHIBITED, o. mossambicus and o. hornorum are not. I have been raising and selling tilapia for years, and two years ago decided I would get legit and pay for an aquaculture permit. On the application, there is a description for who needs a permit, and who does not. First off, all aspects of raising, breeding, and selling goldfish and koi are specifically exempt from all DFG rules, despite the fact that they are not native and quite invasive. Secondly, all tropical fish for hobby purposes are exempt, including raising, breeding and selling. Importation may produce its own troubles, IDK, but any California resident may raise any tropical fish for hobby purposes so long as it is not on the prohibited list. Period. If you choose to eat your hobby fish, or sell your hobby fish to a fellow enthusiast, then do so. If you wish to kill your hobby fish and sell the fillets for human consumption, then you must pay for an aquaculture permit and be subject to DFG for approval and monitoring.

Sam, tilapia are an invasive species, in fact, I believe they are the most invasive species of fish in the world (or maybe carp), BUT they do NOT pose a local threat for NorCal. They die below 55 F, and NorCal is simply too cold for them. And there is a century of proof thereof. That makes tilapia near the top of the list for LEAST invasive locally, ironically.

Now having said all that, tilapia is a poor choice for Cali AP, unless you are indoors, have a very hi-tech GH, or have free heat like geothermal. They cost $2 per pound, or $4 live raised in washington state. Why bother paying for heating of water? Any temperate is a better choice, bluegill, carp, catfish, green sunfish (all of these, btw, are non-native and invasive, yet allowed by DFG). Or better yet, how about natives like trout, salmon, sturgeon, and Sacramento perch (Cali only native sunfish). Sturgeon? Hell yes, I have 50 in a tank right now. Awesome taste and texture, phenomenal growth (12-15 lbs in three years, a buddy has 80-100 lb sturgeons six years old), and they feed right thru the winter.

And I sell fingerlings if you're interested, tilapia, carp, catfish, red ear sunfish, bluegill, crappie, and natives: Sac Perch, Sac blackfish, sturgeon, and soon trout and Kokanee salmon.

I"m in Cali as well - not a fan of all the rules.

I believe i might take up your offer there in the coming months :D



Jon Parr said:
Let me break it down, and separate myth from reality. Sam, you're half right. Tilapia raised for commercial human consumption require an aquaculture permit thru DFG, and DFG will not approve a permit in NorCal. Very true. However, tilapia is not illegal to possess, transport, or raise anywhere in California. Believe me on this one. I have had many conversations and emails with varying levels of DFG staff, and I am 100% sure of this statement. DFG may tell you otherwise, or agree with me, depending on who you speak to. California works like this: rather than generating a list of all the species that ARE ALLOWED, they made a list of species that ARE NOT ALLOWED. The list is here:

https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=28427

Page 10, family cichlidae. There are four species of tilapia commonly farmed for the table. Niles and blues ARE PROHIBITED, o. mossambicus and o. hornorum are not. I have been raising and selling tilapia for years, and two years ago decided I would get legit and pay for an aquaculture permit. On the application, there is a description for who needs a permit, and who does not. First off, all aspects of raising, breeding, and selling goldfish and koi are specifically exempt from all DFG rules, despite the fact that they are not native and quite invasive. Secondly, all tropical fish for hobby purposes are exempt, including raising, breeding and selling. Importation may produce its own troubles, IDK, but any California resident may raise any tropical fish for hobby purposes so long as it is not on the prohibited list. Period. If you choose to eat your hobby fish, or sell your hobby fish to a fellow enthusiast, then do so. If you wish to kill your hobby fish and sell the fillets for human consumption, then you must pay for an aquaculture permit and be subject to DFG for approval and monitoring.

Sam, tilapia are an invasive species, in fact, I believe they are the most invasive species of fish in the world (or maybe carp), BUT they do NOT pose a local threat for NorCal. They die below 55 F, and NorCal is simply too cold for them. And there is a century of proof thereof. That makes tilapia near the top of the list for LEAST invasive locally, ironically.

Now having said all that, tilapia is a poor choice for Cali AP, unless you are indoors, have a very hi-tech GH, or have free heat like geothermal. They cost $2 per pound, or $4 live raised in washington state. Why bother paying for heating of water? Any temperate is a better choice, bluegill, carp, catfish, green sunfish (all of these, btw, are non-native and invasive, yet allowed by DFG). Or better yet, how about natives like trout, salmon, sturgeon, and Sacramento perch (Cali only native sunfish). Sturgeon? Hell yes, I have 50 in a tank right now. Awesome taste and texture, phenomenal growth (12-15 lbs in three years, a buddy has 80-100 lb sturgeons six years old), and they feed right thru the winter.

And I sell fingerlings if you're interested, tilapia, carp, catfish, red ear sunfish, bluegill, crappie, and natives: Sac Perch, Sac blackfish, sturgeon, and soon trout and Kokanee salmon.

I'm no expert, but.

If don't sell to anyone and your just growing a system for yourself you could clam it's a research project.

People in my mind should be able to do that as long as your project isn't in danging your neighbors.

Plus, I always was wondering about fish hording.... like how many fish can one person have as pets at there house.

 (I guess when your house is a fire hazard or your damaging your neighbors it's time to clean up.)

Extreme fish hording is coming to TLC next Fall...LOL!!! 

I also would like to know when are they going to start selling talipa fish at pet stores?  I mean you can

buy just about every other kind of fish there. (They do however sell live fish at some places other then pet stores however.)

Yeah, people all over the us dump pet fish in to water ways every year. So that's how they get there when some ones fish got a little to big and no one wants it. I guess they don't want highly invasive fish in natural water ways since it would kill off all the native species. I think that's what they are really worried about.

Transportation needs a permit too -- huh, I didn't know that... How do you get one then? So can you you as home owner can't pick up fish where you live unless you have a permit to transport live fish? What about pet fish people move them  time do you need a permit to transport? You could claim that your fish where legal chilids not talipia fish and you bought them at a petstore. How would and officer even know the difference. How unpractical would that be for everybody plus it would cost the state more money to test fish to insure that you where really transporting the wrong type of fish. 



FishEater said:

I wonder the same thing. Because there's no drainage I don't see the risk of the fish escaping into waterways...

Mere possession is illegal. Transportation needs a permit too. I say f$%k the police. This is my food, it's what I eat.


50 healthy tilapia in an ibc is not an environmental threat

Debra, I don't plan on going anywhere soon :)

WaterFish, what is legal and what you can get away with are two different questions, with very different arguments. I don't care to discuss the latter, but I can confirm what my research says is legal. Even that should be taken with a grain of salt, as laws are not exactly written in clear verbage. Anyway, all tropical fish that are not prohibitted are legal to buy, sell, breed, transport, and possess without DFG permission. That is DFG's rule, and it includes the all non-prohibited cichlids, including tilapia. Temperates that are allowed are regulated by county concerning stocking and transportation. Possession of temperates in closed-loop Aquaponics systems are more vague, and actually contradicting within the regs. I haven't actually pinned DFG to an answer concerning the temperates. Frankly, I'm afraid of the answer, and would rather use the written inconsistencies to my advantage, should push come to shove. There is talk of DFG re-writing the regs to clarify the particulars of tilapia and temperates, and an Aquaponics permit with rules and fees of it's own. We will see...
Pet stores around here have attempted to sell tilapia, but the threats from DFG have scared them off. It is not worth it for a pet store to bring DFG's wrath upon them. The potential profit for tilapia is not worth the hell DFG can rain. DFG goes thru spells of terror against Craigslist ads for tilapia. Right now they are slacking. In fact, SoCal has several dumb-asses openly advertising Blue tilapia fingerlings right now, despite the fact that they are clearly prohibited. Get the CL ap for your iPhone, and you can search many areas at the same time. There are a lot, myself included. SoCal has mostly illegal blues and Salton sea stains (mossy/horny hybrids, and quite legal). NorCal, Alturas I think, has tilapia advertised as mossambicus, but in reality are Niles, blues, mossambicus and random hybrids thereof. He doesn't know what they are, because he got scammed from Mike Sipes, his words not mine. Idk, maybe he's got true stock since then. Anyway, they all taste the same, and the likelihood of any becoming invasive is both slim and it will happen if it's going to happen, because hundreds of thousands of tilapia are already in the state, many owned by dip-shits who don't know or don't care about the potential for invasion. Negative Nancy, I know. But that's the way it is.

So how do you find out which fish you can have then? Sounds like some kind of confusing battle to me. I mean anyone could buy some fish on craigslist and move from another state to another and not even know legal or not. What about new breads of fish? Plus laws change all the time to who has the time to keep up with every single one, I guess we can only hope to. Do pet-stores need to be inspected to make sure they are selling legal fish? If so who dose that? What about local breeders? 

How about in other states how do you know if your legal to transport fish on a non commercial scale, like a research project your doing at home?

Thanks, I've already learned something new today. 

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