Raising your own fish for food
The growing popularity of aquaponics
As more people want to source and grow their own food, aquaponics is becoming increasingly popular. Many people use this self-contained process to raise fish for food within their homes.
In Utah, the regulations governing aquaponics changed at the end of 2019, and you no longer need special permission — specifically, a certificate of registration (COR) — to have an aquaponics facility if it meets certain requirements.
What is an aquaponics facility?
Per Utah regulations, an aquaponics facility combines fish and plant culture for a noncommercial purpose and meets all of the following requirements:
- It is a closed-loop system. In other words, all water flowing into or through the facility is completely isolated from any other water source via a self-contained water transport system.
- All water flowing from the facility is discarded into a permitted sewer or septic system.
- The aquatic animals held within the facility are used for hobby purposes only (personal or educational).
- No aquatic animals are transported from the facility alive.
- The primary use of the facility is for food production and not for the general display of fish (as in an aquarium).
Do you need a COR for your aquaponics facility?
You do not need special permission — in the form of a COR — for your aquaponics facility as long as:
- It meets all of the criteria listed in the section above
- You follow all applicable fish health rules when importing fish
- You will be raising any of the following DWR-approved fish species:
- Fathead minnow
- Hybrid bluegill (Bluegill × green sunfish)
- Black crappie
- Redear sunfish
- White crappie
- Green sunfish
- Rainbow trout
- Striped bass
- Cutthroat trout
- White bass
- Brown trout
- Hybrid striped bass (wiper)
- Brook trout
- Largemouth bass
- Tiger trout
- Smallmouth bass
- Channel catfish
- Golden shiner
- Yellow perch
- Any aquatic animal species classified as non-controlled for possession and importation under R657-3-22 or 23
You will need a COR — or possibly a variance from the Utah Wildlife Board — if you want to raise fish species that are not in the above list or your fish-growing setup does not meet all of the above requirements of a legal aquaponics facility.