Aquaculture Certification Program
In 1999, the Florida aquaculture industry and Florida Legislature have created the Aquaculture Certificate of Registration to formally recognize legitimate aquafarms. Benefits to the aquafarmer include immediate and formal recognition that they are part of the agricultural community and have access to property tax adjustments, sales tax exemptions (full exemption for feed, certain fuels, electricity and a lower sales tax on equipment) and exemptions from certain fishery regulations. In 2000, the Legislature also created a program of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to assure that aquafarms do not negatively impact the environment. Aquafarms that adhere to aquaculture BMPs will be presumed to be in compliance with state groundwater and surface water standards. Proof of adherence and implementation of aquaculture BMPs is based on acquiring and maintaining the Aquaculture Certificate of Registration.
By acquiring and maintaining the Aquaculture Certificate of Registration you will have access to these benefits. Aquaculturists that do not acquire and maintain an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration are subject to the regulatory authority of the Department of Environmental Protection, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Water Management Districts.
A $100 annual fee must be submitted with the Aquaculture Certificate application. Following review of the application and site visit, farmers will receive an Aquaculture Certificate and plastic embossed card indicating the Aquaculture Certificate number and expiration date. Renewal forms are sent to registered aquaculturists on May 1 of each year. Aquaculture Certificates are valid from July 1 through June 30 of each year.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the aquaculture
The aquaculture certificate is issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to identify aquaculture producers and aquaculture products.
- Who needs the aquaculture certificate?
All persons engaging in commercial aquaculture are required to obtain the certificate. The certificate number is required to be on all aquaculture products from harvest to point of sale.
- What will I get from my aquaculture certificate?
Certification identifies your products as an agricultural commodity and entitles you to the same benefits bestowed upon agriculture. The certificate exempts you from certain requirements of wild-harvested species, offers tax advantages and replaces a number of environmental permitting requirements for aquaculture facilities.
- How do I get an aquaculture certificate?
Contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture, 1203 Governor's Square Boulevard Suite 501, Tallahassee, FL 32301 to obtain application materials.
- What's on the application?
The certificate application has five requirements;
- your name, address and phone number;
- a legal property description;
- a description of the production facilities;
- a listing of the products to be produced; and
- your signature certifying that the statements in the application are true and that you will comply with applicable Best Management Practices.
- What criteria
are used to determine if my business will be certified as aquaculture?
You must be a bona fide producer of aquaculture products in Florida in order to receive the certificate. Your responses on the application will assist us in determining if your business is appropriate for the certification. Note that farmers must comply with Best Management Practices developed for the aquaculture industry or appropriate interim measures.
- What will it cost?
The fee for aquaculture certification is $100 annually.
- I said on my application that I would abide by Best Management Practices (BMPs),
what are they?
BMPs are developed with each segment of the industry in mind and are defined as the methods a farmer uses for construction and operation of a facility which result in minimal environmental impacts. A copy may be viewed at www.floridaaquaculture.com/publications/P-00104-booklet-07_BMP_RULE.pdf
- I have
a few aquaria in my garage to raise tropical fish. Do I need the certification?
Yes, if you sell the fish you raise. No, if you are a hobbyist.
- I am
subleasing submerged bottom for clam farming. Do I need the certificate?
Yes, in order to be lawfully authorized to harvest and transport aquaculture product from the lease you must have a current certification.
- It's December,
and I'm applying for the certification. Will it be valid through December of next
No, the aquaculture certificate is valid from July 1 until June 30, no matter when you apply.
- Do my business partner and I need to send two applications for our clam farm?
We have two leases.
No, if you are joint leaseholders on both Sovereignty Submerged Land Aquaculture Leases.
Yes, if the Sovereignty Submerged Land Aquaculture Leases are in your individual names. An Authorized User Acknowledgement form must be completed before each of your leases can appear on the other’s certification.
- Can my employees each
get duplicate cards with my certification number?
No, there will be one certificate and one card issued per aquaculturist. A duplicate of your certificate can be made for employees.
- I have 2 submerged bottom leases
for clam culture. Do I need 2 certificates? What if I have a fish farm housed
at two different locations?
Each shellfish farmer needs only one certificate, which will list all the lease sites. For inland aquaculture facilities, the certification is issued for each separate site.
- I lost my certificate/card. Can I get
a new one?
Yes, a single replacement certificate/card will be made at no cost, once a request has been made in writing.
- Will my clam
sales count toward the $5,000 necessary for a Saltwater Products License with
a restricted species endorsement?
Yes, your clam sales may be recorded in the trip ticket system with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They will count toward the minimum requirement for maintaining the SPL with RS (but not for obtaining a new RS endorsement).
Please follow the instructions provided below when printing and completing the forms listed.
- Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print forms. Skip this step if Adobe Reader is already installed on your pc.
- Print forms on white 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
- Type or print the entire form in blue or black ink.
- Make check payable to: FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES.
- Mail check(s) to: FDACS-Aquaculture Certification, Post Office Box 6700, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-6700.
- DACS-15106 - Aquaculture Certificate Application
- DACS-15107 - Aquaculture Certification - Authorized User Acknowledgement
If you have any questions, please contact:
Aquaculture Certification Program
1203 Governor's Square Boulevard, Fifth Floor
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 488-4033
Fax: (850) 410-0893