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Fish Importation Permits

Frequently Asked Questions about Importation Permits

Who needs a South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Fish Importation Permit?

A fish importation permit is required for all live fish or fish eggs originating from sources outside the boundaries of the state of South Dakota before they can be brought into South Dakota. All State, Federal, and private hatchery facilities, private pond owners, resident anglers, non-resident anglers, and resident and non-resident bait dealers are required to obtain a fish importation permit from the department before obtaining fish or fish eggs from sources not in South Dakota.

The Fish Importation Permit Application and a list of fish importation regulations is available online or by contacting the department's Fish Health Coordinator at 605.381.9641.

A copy of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Fish Importation Permit must be in possession when transporting live fish or included with the shipping container for eggs or live fish.

What if I want to import a fish species that is not native to South Dakota?

Prior to requesting an import permit, the applicant must receive approval from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Commission to possess non-native fish species for stocking in South Dakota waters. The request should be directed to the department's Fisheries Program Administrator so that the Commission can approve or disapprove the request. Once the Commission approves the request to import a non-native fish species, the applicant can request an importation permit from the Fish Health Specialist.

If I am a non-resident angler, do I need a fish importation permit for bait fish transported into South Dakota for my own personal use when fishing in South Dakota waters?

Importation permits are required but will not be issued to anglers wishing to import baitfish for fishing in South Dakota inland waters. Boundary waters are exempt from the fish importation permit requirements.

Do I need a fish importation permit for aquaria fish?

No, retail and personal aquaria hobbyist are not required to obtain a fish importation permit for ornamental fish species used in aquariums or private garden ponds. 

Why does the fish importation permit require a fish health inspection report or fish health certification before the permit is approved?

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks requires that all fish or eggs originating from sources not in South Dakota be free of regulated fish diseases at the time of importation.. The originating source and facility that the fish are held at prior to importation into South Dakota must be inspected at least annually for regulated fish diseases. Information regarding fish health inspection requirements may be obtained form the department's Fish Health Specialist.

What if I am only traveling through South Dakota on my way to another State?  Do I still need a South Dakota Fish Importation Permit?

No. Fish being transported through South Dakota, that will not be unloaded or staying in South Dakota, do not require a fish importation permit, but the State that is your destination may require one.


Official Administrative Rules of South Dakota for Fish Importation - 41:09:08