Shellfish aquaculture

For thousands of years, shellfish aquaculture has been part of the Pacific Northwest landscape. Shellfish are an economically important source of food and are culturally important to Washington's coastal Indian tribes. 

We work with a variety of stakeholders to protect and restore aquatic habitats, and plan for shellfish aquaculture activities alongside other shoreline uses. This includes:

Permits for businesses

Please contact the Governor's Office for Regulatory Innovation & Assistance (ORIOA) for permitting information, including the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA). You can also contact your city or county planning department for the most up-to-date information.

The Shellfish Interagency Permitting team also provides guidance about the state and local permitting process. 

Legal decisions

The legal foundation for shellfish aquaculture in Washington is complex and continually evolving.

You can search the legal decisions of the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office (including the Shorelines Hearing Board, Pollution Control Hearings Board and Growth Management Hearings Board) — Enter “shellfish aquaculture” into the document text search box.

Additional resources

We are just one of several state and federal agencies that have policies as well as a regulatory role in overseeing shellfish aquaculture.

Washington Department of Agriculture

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Washington Department of Health

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Sea Grant

Federal agencies and tribal governments