Aquaculture is a dynamic and economically important industry in Washington state. We help protect and restore water quality and aquatic resources through planning and regulating aquaculture and its related activities. In Washington, aquaculture occurs in both fresh and marine waters — from streams, rivers, and lakes, to Puget Sound and the coast.

Commercial aquaculture activities include raising, harvesting, transporting, and selling fish and shellfish. Other aquaculture activities are designed to help restore and enhance resources. This includes fish and shellfish hatcheries, enhancing public beaches with shellfish, and planting and growing native aquatic plants to restore or enhance habitat.

We work with other agencies to permit and regulate aquaculture. This primarily includes the state departments of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Natural Resources (DNR), as well as local and tribal governments, and other state and federal agencies. We also work with the aquaculture industry, conservation and environmental groups, and the public. This helps us strike a balance between aquaculture, natural systems, and people.

Aquaculture methods and processes are constantly evolving. Because of this, we have to address ongoing changes to both the environment and industry. Our management decisions are based on science and legislative mandates.

Types of aquaculture in Washington

All facilities that discharge to a surface water in Washington have a responsibility to prevent water pollution and obtain a discharge permit. We issue several types of permits, from water quality to pesticide and herbicide application.

401 water quality certifications for federal and tribal facilities

We coordinate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make sure federally permitted facilities meet Washington state water quality standards.