NPDES Aquaculture Permitting
Aquaculture is the culture, or husbandry, of marine or freshwater plants or animals. "Aquatic animals" means all life stages of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Aquaculture is undertaken in a variety of ways, including:
- fish hatcheries,
- raceways, ponds, or recirculating systems,
- floating or submersible net pens or cages, and
- bag, rack, or suspended shellfish culture.
NPDES permits are required for discharges associated with:
Aquaculture Projects (40 CFR Part 122.25) -- A "defined managed water area which uses discharges of pollutants into that designated area for the maintenance or production of harvestable freshwater estuarine or marine plants or animals."
Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Facilities (CAAP) (40 CFR Part 122.24) -- A "hatchery, fish farm, or other facility” which is designated by EPA (40 CFR 122.25) or which satisfies the following criteria in Appendix C (40 CFR Part 122).
- Facilities raising cold water fish species or other cold water aquatic animals in ponds, raceways, or other similar structures which discharge at least 30 days per year, but does not include:
- Facilities which produce less than 9.090 harvest weight kilograms (20,000 pounds) of aquatic animals per year; and
- Facilities which feed less than 2,272 kilograms (5,000 pounds) of food during the calendar month of maximum feeding.
- Warm water fish species or other warm water aquatic animals in ponds, raceways, or other similar structures which discharge at least 30 days per year, but does not include:
- Closed ponds which discharge only during periods of excess runoff; or
- Facilities which produce less than 45,454 harvest weight kilograms (100,000 pounds) of aquatic animals per year.
Effluent guidelines have been developed for CAAP facilities producing 100,000 pounds or more of aquatic animals per year.
- Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Point Source Category (40 CFR Part 451).
- Effluent Guidelines for Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production (CAAP)
- Compliance Guide for the Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Point Source Category – Guidance developed to support the CAAP Effluent Guideline.
- Executive Order 13547 – National Ocean Policy for the stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
- National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan – Includes recommendations for aquaculture (2 pp, 480 K, About PDF)
- Fishing and Farming Methods Exit– Primer from the Monterey Bay Aquarium on aquaculture farming methods.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Information on aquaculture.
- Guide to the Application Process for Offshore Aquaculture in U.S. Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico – If you plan to establish an offshore aquaculture operation in the Gulf of Mexico, information on all federal permitting and authorization reuqirements is available on the NOAA Fisheries website. See the Permit Application Guide(21x pp, 428 K, About PDF)