Fish, Amphibian, & Aquatic Plants Permits

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is the custodian of all fish resources in the state. Alaska’s broad definition of fish includes amphibians and aquatic invertebrates. Fish resources, and the habitats that produce them, are immensely valuable from both economic and ecological standpoints, and Alaska takes their protection seriously. This includes preventing introduction of invasive species along with the diseases they carry, and protecting wild fish stocks from diseases that could be transferred from native fish or ornamental species being held in aquaria.

Most public and commercial uses of Alaska’s fish resources are closely regulated by the Alaska Board of Fish, a seven-member body appointed by the Governor. For collections or uses outside of existing regulation, Aquatic Resource Permits (ARPs) exist to permit these types of activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, collection of live aquatic plants or fish for research or educational opportunities. Organizations or individuals sometimes need to move fish or their eggs between points within Alaska, or import or export them. When done properly, the capture, collection, holding, or disposition of fish can also have considerable educational value, such as in teaching about fish anatomy or the salmon life cycle.

Permit Type Depends on the Activity

The department monitors and evaluates potential effects of these uses by issuing different types of permits for qualifying projects by individuals and organizations. Aquatic Resource Permits are only issued to applicants that meet requirements in department regulation, and who are engaged in legitimate scientific, educational, propagative, or exhibition activities. Regulation 5AAC 41.005 -41.600 govern permits needed for collecting, holding, and propagating fish, shellfish, or aquatic plants. Permits are also required for anyone who wants to transport, possess, export from the state, or release into the waters of the state, any live fish (the broad legal definition) or their eggs.

This section explains more about who can apply for these permits, what activities need which permits, why and from whom. It also lists estimated permit processing times and describes reporting requirements. Violating the terms of an ARP or associated regulations may be found to be a Class A misdemeanor or more serious offense under Alaska law. Questions about the department’s ARP program or regulation can be directed to the appropriate contacts.