No fish farming permit is required in Alabama. Processing facilities, however, must be certified and inspected by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Permits to construct ponds are needed if the ponds are to be located in wetlands. Before constructing ponds, check with the USDA Soil Conservation Service for the latest information on permits required for building ponds. When constructing in a wetland, failure to have a permit from the Corps of Engineers could result in civil and criminal penalties.
Discharge from ponds must meet federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA) standards as administered by the Alabama Department of Environment Management (ADEM). Under present regulations, most producers do not need permits. Permits are necessary if a catfish farm produces more than 100,000 pounds each year and discharges water 30 or more days each year. Discharge does not include overflow from ponds during rains.
Alabama law (83-152) makes theft of farm-raised fish the same as livestock rustling. A person convicted of stealing fish is subject to a fine of not less than $500, not more than $1,000, and seizure of the property used in committing the theft. This includes the fishing equipment and the vehicles. The court can also imprison the convicted person for up to 1 year for the first offense.
Check on the laws of other states before transporting fish across state
lines. Because laws and regulations can change frequently, check with the
appropriate agencies if you have any questions.