Shellfish import and transfer permits

Shellfish Import and Transfer permitting requirements are intended to reduce risk associated with introducing and spreading shellfish disease agents and harmful aquatic pest organisms. As specified in WACs 220-340-050 and 220-340-150 , it is unlawful to import from out of state or transfer shellfish within Washington State without first obtaining a Washington state Shellfish Import or Shellfish Transfer Permit. Once a person submits a complete shellfish import or shellfish transfer permit application, unless further information is required from the applicant, the department will submit transfer and import permit applications to a required 20 working day tribal review, prior to being issued.

The importation of kelp and other marine plants also requires an Import Permit. There are some restrictions on the transfer of marine plants within the state (see below). 

The cultivation of any aquatic products, including shellfish and seaweed, requires an Aquatic Farm Registration. Registration information can be found via WDFW Licensing

Don't relocate shellfish or shell in Washington waters without a permit. Doing so could accidentally introduce or spread disease or pest organisms. The placement of shell or shellfish into contact with state waters requires a permit from WDFW.

For information on WDFW's permitting timeliness, visit the ORIA Central Repository.

Who needs a shellfish import permit: Anyone seeking to import or possess live aquatic invertebrates from outside the state of Washington into the state. This includes but is not limited to aquatic invertebrates (other than insects) intended for aquaculture, research, public or personal display, or education. This also excludes shellfish considered market-ready, intended for immediate human consumption and not intended to be placed into or to come into contact with state waters. 

Who needs a shellfish transfer permit: Anyone wishing to transfer shellfish, shellfish aquaculture products (such as seed, cultch, and shell), aquaculture equipment (such as vessels and vehicles) or any marine organisms adversely affecting shellfish, into or contacting state waters. This includes but is not limited to shellfish aquaculture activities like broodstock movement, wet storage, placement of cultch, placement or sale of shellfish seed; and transfer of invertebrates for research, education, monitoring, or display. This excludes shellfish that are market ready, intended for immediate human consumption, and which will not be placed into or come into contact with state waters. 

Who needs a marine plant import permit: Anyone seeking to import live kelp, seaweed, or other marine plant aquaculture products destined for contact with state waters (directly or indirectly). 

Marine plant transfer: It is unlawful to transfer marine plant aquaculture products between any of the following geographic areas without having first obtained a transfer permit: Columbia River; Pacific Ocean waters; Willapa Harbor; Grays Harbor; Puget Sound. No transfer permit is necessary for transfer within any of the geographic regions described above. 

Application information

Applications for shellfish import and transfer permits can be found on this page. Applications are available as a Word Document (.doc) and as a PDF. Both of these formats can be filled in using a computer, saved, and e-mailed to the contacts listed below. Documents filled out electronically and sent via e-mail are preferred, but the PDF can also be printed and filled in by hand if need be. If for any reason you have trouble opening either of these forms, please contact us for assistance.

To submit a shellfish transfer or import application or for further information please contact:

Brady Blake
360-302-3030 ex 301
Brady.Blake@dfw.wa.gov

Paul Clarke
360-302-3030 ex 304
Paul.Clarke@dfw.wa.gov

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
375 Hudson Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Fax: 360-302-3031

Shellfish import permits

Import permits from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are required for the import of live shellfish from waters or facilities outside the State of Washington. This includes, but is not limited to, shellfish for aquaculture, research or display purposes.  Shellfish which are market ready and do not come into contact with state waters do not require a permit.

Import permits will include conditions to ensure that diseases, pests and invasive species do not enter the State’s waters. Permits may be modified or revoked upon a finding of an aquatic disease or pest or upon determination of violation of the conditions of a permit. (RCW 77.15.350)

Application forms and reference materials

Shellfish transfer permits

Transfer permits from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are required for the  transfer of shellfish, shellfish aquaculture products (including oyster seed, cultch and shell), aquaculture equipment (including aquaculture vehicles and vessels) or any marine organisms adversely affecting shellfish.  Shellfish Transfer Permits include conditions that eliminate or reduce the risk of transferring marine pests, such as oyster drills and European green crabs, from one body of water to another.  Certain areas are identified as oyster drill areas (WAC 220-340-130 and 220-340-140). Transfer permit conditions document transfer vehicles, cleaning and disposal methods and other preventative measures.

Application forms and reference materials

Shellfish transfer permit application form:  PDF | MS Word

Click "More information" below for information on European green crabs, Japanese oyster drills, and more. 

Marine plants

The importation and transfer of kelp and other marine plants is regulated under:

The importation of marine plants requires an Import Permit.  For the import of marine plants, please complete and submit a Shellfish Import Permit application. 

There are some restrictions on the transfer of marine plants within the state. It is unlawful to transfer marine plant aquaculture products between any of the following geographic areas without having first obtained a transfer permit: Columbia River; Pacific Ocean waters; Willapa Harbor; Grays Harbor; Puget Sound. No transfer permit is necessary for transfer within any of the geographic regions described above.  If a permit is required for the transfer of marine plants, please complete and submit a Shellfish Transfer Permit application.