CCLME.ORG - FGC Division 12 (commencing with 15000)
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FGC Sec 15000-15703 (Div. 12) AQUACULTURE

SECTION 15000-15703

15000. (a) The business of aquaculture is governed by this division
and is exempt from Part 3 (commencing with Section 7600) of Division
6 and any other provision of this code relating to commercial
fishing, harvesting, processing, and marketing.
(b) Except as provided in Sections 15005, 15200, 15201, and 15202,
the business of aquaculture processing, distribution, and marketing
is administered by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.
(c) The director may enter into an agreement with the Secretary of
Food and Agriculture for the resolution of any conflict that arises
under subdivision (b).
(d) Any costs incurred by the department in implementing Sections
15005, 15200, 15201, and 15202 shall be recovered pursuant to this

15001. The cultured progeny of wild plants and animals lawfully
obtained under Section 15300 are the exclusive property of that
person who cultured them or that person's successor in interest.

15002. Any person who takes aquaculture products without lawful
entitlement is subject to prosecution for theft.

15003. (a) The department may assess a fee on persons growing
aquaculture products on public lands and in public waters based on
the price per pound of the products sold. The fees, if imposed,
shall be set at amounts necessary to defray the costs of the
commission and the department in administering this division.
However, the fees if any, may not exceed the tax rates as provided in
Section 8051.
(b) The price per pound for these taxation purposes shall be based
on the whole product weight or its equivalent as taken by the
(c) The privilege tax imposed by this section shall be paid
monthly to the department within 30 days after the close of each
month. If not paid within 60 days after the close of the month in
which it is due, a 10 percent penalty shall be paid.

15004. (a) Commencing in 1992, the department shall, at least once
every five years, analyze the fees and taxes authorized by this
division to ensure that the amount of the appropriate fee or tax is
sufficient to fully fund the aquaculture program.
(b) The department shall, as appropriate, recommend fee or tax
changes to the Legislature or the commission.
(c) Aquaculturists operating under this division shall pay all
costs incurred by the department when conducting any inspections of
plants, animals, facilities, or culture areas required by this
division, or by regulations adopted pursuant to this division, when
requested by the aquaculturists.

15005. (a) When necessary for the protection of native wildlife,
the commission may regulate the transportation, purchase, possession,
and sale of specific aquaculture products as provided for in this
(b) The commission may determine that aquaculture products shall
be accompanied by a document containing any of the following
(1) The name, address, and registration number of the aquaculture
(2) The species.
(3) The weight, volume or count within the container.
(4) The date of the shipment.
(5) The name and address of the intended receiver.
(c) The commission may require that certain aquaculture products
shall be additionally identified as being aquaculture produced,
except for the following:
(1) Trout.
(2) Catfish.
(3) Kelp and aquatic plants.
(4) Frogs and amphibia.
(5) All bivalve mollusks (except little neck clams).
(6) All members of the family Centrarchidae.
(7) Crayfish.
(8) Sea urchins.
(9) Shrimp and fresh water prawns.
(10) Crab.

15006. Nothing in this division applies to authorized species of
ornamental marine or freshwater plants and animals not utilized for
human consumption or bait purposes that are maintained in closed
systems for personal, pet industry, or hobby purposes.

15007. (a) In the waters of the Pacific Ocean that are regulated by
this state, it is unlawful to spawn, incubate, or cultivate any
species of finfish belonging to the family Salmonidae, transgenic
fish species, or any exotic species of finfish. This section does
not apply to salmon or steelhead trout reared from native California
stocks that are propagated and cultured for either of the following:

(1) Research conducted by, or on behalf of, the department; or
(2) Release into ocean waters for the purpose of recovery,
restoration, or enhancement of California's native salmon and
steelhead trout populations pursuant to Chapter 8 (commencing with
Section 6900) of Part 1 of Division 6.
(b) Nothing in this section authorizes artificial propagation,
rearing, or stocking of transgenic freshwater and marine fishes,
invertebrates, crustaceans, or mollusks.
(c) As used in this section, "transgenic" has the same meaning as
in Section 1.92 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, as
that section read on May 14, 2003.
(d) As used in this section, "exotic species" means a fish that is
not native to California waters and that does not currently exist as
a viable population in a wild condition in the state.

15100. There is within the department an aquaculture coordinator
who shall perform all of the following duties:
(a) Promote understanding of aquaculture among public agencies and
the general public.
(b) Propose methods of reducing the negative impact of public
regulation at all levels of government on the aquaculture industry.
(c) Provide information on all aspects of regulatory compliance to
the various sectors of the aquaculture industry.
(d) Provide such advice to aquaculturists on project siting and
facility design that may be needed to comply with regulatory

15101. (a) The owner of each aquaculture facility shall register
all of the following information with the department by March 1 of
each year:
(1) The owner's name.
(2) The species grown.
(3) The location or locations of each operation or operations.
(b) The department may provide registration forms for this
purpose, may establish a procedure for the review of the information
provided to ensure that the operation will not be detrimental to
native wildlife, and shall impose a registration fee of five hundred
forty-nine dollars ($549) to recover the cost of reviewing new
registrations. For renewing registrations, the department shall
impose a registration fee of two hundred seventy-five dollars
($275). It is unlawful to conduct aquaculture operations or to
culture approved species of aquatic plants and animals unless
registered under this section. The registration fees specified in
this section are applicable to the 2004 registration year and shall
be adjusted annually thereafter pursuant to Section 713.
(c) The annual registration of information required by subdivision
(b) is not a project for purposes of the California Environmental
Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the
Public Resources Code).

15102. The department may prohibit an aquaculture operation or the
culturing of any species at any location where it is determined it
would be detrimental to adjacent native wildlife.

15103. (a) In addition to the fees specified in Section 15101, a
surcharge fee of four hundred twelve dollars ($412) shall be paid at
the time of registration by the owner of an aquaculture facility if
the gross annual sales of aquaculture products of the facility during
the prior calendar year exceed twenty-five thousand dollars
(b) Each registered aquaculturist shall maintain sales and
production records which shall be made available upon request of the
department to assist the department in the administration of this
(c) Any person who fails to pay the surcharge fee required in this
section at the time of registration shall be assessed a delinquency
penalty pursuant to Section 15104.
(d) The surcharge imposed pursuant to this section shall be
applicable to the 2004 registration year and shall be adjusted
annually thereafter pursuant to Section 713.

15104. (a) If any person engages in the business of aquaculture, as
regulated under this division, without having paid the registration
fee or surcharge fee within one calendar month of the commencement of
business, or, for renewal of registration, on or before April 1 of
the registration year, the fees are delinquent.
(b) A penalty shall be paid at the time of registration for any
fees that are delinquent in the amount of fifty dollars ($50).
(c) The penalty imposed pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be
applicable to the 2005 registration year, and shall be adjusted
thereafter pursuant to Section 713.

15105. (a) Notwithstanding Section 13001 or 13002, all moneys
collected by the department pursuant to this division shall be
deposited in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund and shall be
expended solely on the department's aquaculture program pursuant to
this division.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 13004, these moneys are available for
appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act for
purposes of this division.
(c) The department shall maintain internal accountability
necessary to ensure that all restrictions on the expenditure of these
funds are met.

15200. The commission may regulate the placing of aquatic plants
and animals in waters of the state. Movement of live fish between
two registered aquaculturists who are registered for those species
does not require a permit.

15201. A permit is required to place fish on public or private land
or water in any watershed above an established public or private
fish hatchery. The department shall deny the permit if there is
evidence that water quality and potential disease transfers will be
adverse to the established hatchery.

15202. The commission may prohibit the placement of specific
species of aquatic plants or animals in designated waters of the
state. The prohibition may not include species that are found to be
native or that are stocked by the state in a location where
prohibition is contemplated.

15300. Aquatic plants or animals may be legally obtained for use as
brood stock from all of the following sources:
(a) A holder of a commercial fishing license.
(b) A registered aquaculturist.
(c) The department.
(d) Imported sources authorized by Chapter 7 (commencing with
Section 15600).

15301. (a) The department may sell wild aquatic plants or animals,
except rare, endangered, or fully protected species, for aquaculture
use at a price approximating the administrative cost to the
department for the collection or sale of the plants or animals. The
commission shall set this price.
(b) Aquatic plants and animals may be collected by a registered
aquaculturist only with the written approval of the department. The
department may specify the time, place, and manner of collection and
may collect a fee from the aquaculturist in an amount sufficient to
cover the cost of processing the approval.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the fee for collecting
sturgeon or striped bass broodstock shall be five hundred dollars

15400. The commission may lease state water bottoms to any person
for aquaculture. The commission may adopt regulations governing the
terms of the leases. No state water bottoms shall be leased, unless
the commission determines that the lease is in the public interest.

15401. Areas used by the public for digging clams shall not be
leased. The department shall designate those areas.

15402. A lessee of a state water bottom owns all lawfully
cultivated organisms that are described in the application for the
lease and produced in the area leased. The lessee has the exclusive
right to cultivate and harvest the aquatic organisms in the area

15403. Persons wishing to lease a state water bottom shall make a
written application to the commission. An application shall contain
all of the following information:
(a) A map showing the area to be leased, its general vicinity, and
all ownership and boundary lines in the vicinity.
(b) A description of the organisms to be grown and the culture
techniques to be used.
(c) An estimate of the acreage to be leased.
(d) A nonrefundable filing fee of five hundred dollars ($500).
The lessee shall assume responsibility for any infringement on
privately owned water bottoms, or water bottoms owned by, or under
the jurisdiction of any city, county, or district.

15404. (a) If the commission finds that the area applied for is
available for lease and that the lease would be in the public
interest, it shall publish a notice that the area is being considered
for leasing.
(b) The commission shall have legal notices published in a
newspaper of general circulation in each county where the water
bottom, or any part thereof, is located, describing the area to be
leased and the type of operation to be conducted. The publication
shall comply with Sections 6060 and 6066 of the Government Code.

15405. No initial term of a state water bottom lease shall exceed
25 years.

15406. (a) Each state water bottom lease shall specify a period
prior to expiration when renewal of the lease may be requested by the
lessee. If during this period the lessee is still actively engaged
in aquaculture, as determined by the commission, the lessee shall
have a prior right to renew the lease on terms agreed upon between
the commission and the lessee. If terms are not agreed upon, the
commission shall advertise for bids on the lease. If a request for
renewal is not made by the lessee, the commission shall advertise for
bids on the lease. The commission shall consider bids only from
aquaculturists registered pursuant to Section 15101.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), with respect to any lease of
state water bottoms in effect on January 1, 1983, the lessee shall
have a prior right to renew the lease. If the lessee does not renew
the lease, the commission shall advertise for bids on the lease. The
commission shall consider bids only from aquaculturists registered
pursuant to Section 15101.
(c) A lease may be renewed for additional periods not to exceed 25
years each.

15406.5. The commission shall award water bottom leases to the
highest responsible bidder, if the bid meets or exceeds the minimum
annual rent established by the commission, which shall not be less
than two dollars ($2) per acre, for all species cultivated, unless
the acreage applied for is 10 acres or less, in which case the
minimum acceptable rent shall be ten dollars ($10) per acre. The
annual rent for any lease in effect on January 1, 1983, for the
cultivation of oysters shall be one dollar ($1) per acre until the
expiration thereof. The commission may reject any or all bids for
the lease of state water bottoms if it deems the rejection to be in
the public interest.

15406.7. (a) In addition to the rent provided in Section 15406.5,
every person operating under an oyster lease shall pay a privilege
tax of four cents ($0.04) per packed gallon, or fraction thereof, of
shucked oysters harvested by the lessee.
(b) If the oysters are marketed in the shell, the tax shall be
based on the equivalent yield of shucked oyster meat. In determining
the yield of oysters, it shall be deemed that 100 oysters are
equivalent to one packed gallon of shucked oyster meat.
(c) The tax imposed by this section is the exclusive privilege tax
that shall be imposed on lessees of state water bottoms for oyster
cultivation, notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 15003.

15407. The annual rent shall be paid to the department within 30
days of the commencement of the lease and within 30 days of the
anniversary thereof. The commission may establish penalty fees for
late payment and may cancel the lease if rent is not paid within 90
days of the commencement of the lease or within 90 days of any
anniversary thereof.

15408. The commission shall promulgate regulations governing the
termination of leases due to failure to pay rent or improper use of
the leasehold.

15409. Upon termination of a lease, for any reason, all structures
will be removed at the lessee's expense from the leasehold, and the
area shall be restored to its original condition. If the lessee
fails to remove the structures, the state may remove them and the
lessee shall pay the removal costs so incurred.

15410. All leases shall be subject to the power of the Legislature
to increase or decrease the rents, fees, taxes, and other charges
relating to the lease, but no increase in rent shall be applicable to
an existing lease until it is renewed.

15411. Lessees under a state water bottom lease may not
unreasonably impede public access to state waters for purpose of
fishing, navigation, commerce, or recreation. The lessee may,
however, limit public access to the extent necessary to avoid damage
to the leasehold and the aquatic life culture therein.
The commission may prohibit any recreational activity in any
aquaculture area subject to a state water bottom lease if it
determines that the activity is detrimental to the enhancement of the

15412. No water bottom lease may be assigned without the prior
approval of the commission. Application for approval of a lease
assignment shall comply with all of the requirements for an original

15413. No person may enter upon any area subject to a water bottom
lease in which aquatic life is cultivated, or remove the aquatic life
therefrom without the consent of the lessee, or willfully destroy
the cultivated aquatic life or any markers intended to designate the
boundaries and limits of the leased area.

15414. A water bottom lease may require periodic reports that the
commission deems necessary for the proper administration of the state'
s water bottoms.

15415. The department shall notify the State Lands Commission of
all applications for water bottom leases.
The department shall inform the State Lands Commission of all
leases executed, renewed, or assigned pursuant to this chapter, and
shall furnish the State Lands Commission with such information
concerning these leases that it may require.

15500. Upon the recommendation of the department and after
consultation with the Aquaculture Disease Committee created pursuant
to this chapter, the commission shall compile a list of diseases and
parasites and the aquatic plants and animals they are known to infect
or parasitize. All government activities relating to aquaculture
disease detection, control, and eradication that do not affect human
health and safety are the responsibility of the department.

15501. The department may enter, under an inspection warrant issued
pursuant to Title 5 (commencing with Section 1822.50) of Part 3 of
the Code of Civil Procedure, at any time, any car, warehouse, depot,
ship, or growing area where any aquatic plants or animals are held or
stored, for the purpose of making an examination to ascertain
whether the aquatic plants or animals are infected, diseased, or

15502. The director, in consultation with the Aquaculture Industry
Advisory Committee and the Interagency Committee for Aquaculture
Development, shall appoint an 11-member Aquaculture Disease Committee
consisting of at least six industry producers selected to represent
geographic, specie, and other diverse aspects of the industry; two to
represent the department; one to represent the Department of Food
and Agriculture; an academic scientist who is an expert in aquatic
diseases; and one representative of the University of California
Cooperative Extension. Members of the committee shall serve without
compensation, but shall be paid their necessary expenses.

15503. The Aquaculture Disease Committee may recommend regulations
to the commission designed to safeguard wild and cultured organisms
from the list of harmful organisms compiled pursuant to Section

15504. Regulations recommended under Section 15503 and adopted by
the commission may include all of the following:
(a) Routine monitoring procedures.
(b) Standardized diagnostic procedures.
(c) A requirement for the confirmation of the diagnosis by the
state through at least one other independent and qualified
(d) Criteria for ordering quarantine, condemnation, or
(e) A stated maximum time period between diagnosis and
(f) Methods to be employed in animal destruction and facility
(g) Procedures for determining fair and rapid compensation.
(h) Any other related procedures that the commission may determine
are necessary.

15505. If any of the diseases or parasites listed pursuant to
Section 15500 is found to exist which the director, in consultation
with the Aquaculture Disease Committee and consistent with the
regulations adopted under Section 15504, deems to be detrimental to
the aquaculture industry or to wild stocks of aquatic plants and
animals, the director may do any of the following:
(a) Establish the area to be quarantined and list the aquatic
plants and animals affected by it.
(b) Post notices describing, as nearly as possible, the boundaries
of an area within which specific disease or parasite infestations
are found. Notices posted pursuant to this subdivision shall be
published once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper of
general circulation in the county in which the infected area is
located. If there is no newspaper of general circulation in that
county, then the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general
circulation published in an adjoining county.
(c) Hold and impound diseased or parasitized plants and animals.
(d) Forbid, prevent, or restrict the movement of all plants and
animals subject to the disease or parasite from or into the area, or
from place to place within it, during the existence of the
(e) Order the destruction and disposal of diseased or parasitized
plants and animals consistent with Section 15504.

15506. Except for those diseases in the list compiled pursuant to
Section 15500, infected plants or animals shall not be quarantined or
destroyed, unless the director, in consultation with the Aquaculture
Disease Committee, finds that an outbreak of aquatic disease among
privately cultured plants or animals presents a threat to the
aquaculture industry or to fish life or plant life.

15507. If the director, in consultation with the Aquaculture
Disease Committee, finds that a disease is present in a nearby
government operated facility or in nearby wild stocks, infected
plants or animals in a private aquaculture facility shall not be
quarantined or destroyed unless similar action is taken with respect
to the government facility and wild stocks.

15508. Reports of those diseases and parasites compiled pursuant to
Section 15500 shall be immediately forwarded by the director to the
Aquaculture Disease Committee and shall be promptly investigated by
the department.

15509. No person may move, or allow to be moved, any of the aquatic
plants or animals which are subject to a quarantine established
pursuant to Section 15505 across the quarantine line which is
established, unless the person has first obtained a permit from the
director authorizing the movement.
The director may issue a permit after inspection, if the aquatic
plants or animals, premises, transportation vehicles, and equipment
which are subject to the quarantine established pursuant to Section
15505 are properly cleaned and disinfected.

15510. If the director determines that any disease designated
pursuant to Section 15500 exists among domestic aquatic plants and
animals, or that aquatic plants and animals have been exposed, or may
have been exposed, to the disease, or to the vectors of the disease,
in any other state or territory in the United States or in any
foreign country, and the importation of aquatic plants or animals
from the state, territory, or foreign country may transmit, carry, or
disseminate the disease to domestic plants and animals within this
state, the director shall notify the commission which may, after
consulting the State Department of Health Services and the Department
of Food and Agriculture, issue a regulation restricting or
prohibiting the importation of the diseased or infected aquatic
plants or animals into this state from any other state, territory, or
foreign country.

15512. (a) If aquatic plants or animals are destroyed pursuant to
subdivision (e) of Section 15505, the owner shall be promptly paid
from the General Fund an amount equal to 75 percent of the
replacement value of the plants or animals, less the value determined
by the department of any replacement stock provided by the
department under subdivision (b) if the claim is submitted pursuant
to Section 15513. If the replacement value is not settled between
the owner and the department, the replacement value shall be
determined by an appraiser appointed by the director and an appraiser
appointed by the owner. Appraiser's fees shall be paid by the
appointing party. Disputes between these two appraisers shall be
submitted to arbitration under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of
the American Arbitration Association.
(b) If the department provides replacement stock to an
aquaculturist whose plants or animals are destroyed pursuant to
subdivision (e) of Section 15505, the amount to be paid to the
aquaculturist pursuant to this section shall be reduced by the value
of the replacement stock, as determined by the department.
(c) The result of the arbitration or the amount settled between
the owner and the department, reduced by the value determined by the
department of any replacement stock provided under subdivision (b),
may be submitted as a claim by the owner to the Board of Control
pursuant to Section 15513.

15513. Claims against the department arising under this chapter may
be submitted pursuant to Section 905.2 of the Government Code.

15514. No claim arising under this chapter shall be paid where the
director, in consultation with the Aquaculture Disease Committee,
finds that the claimant's management practices were negligent or in
violation of law, and that the negligence or violation was the
proximate cause of the disease or infection prompting the order of
destruction or finds the claimant willfully violated any provision of
Section 15505.

15516. The owner of an aquaculture product who does not diligently
pursue the eradication of a disease from its facility when ordered to
do so by the director shall be responsible for paying to the
director the full costs of the department for all disease eradication
efforts conducted by the department to eradicate the disease.
Payment of the costs under this section shall not excuse compliance
with the provisions of law, regulations of the commission, and orders
of the director, nor be a defense in any criminal or civil

15600. (a) No live aquatic plant or animal may be imported into
this state by a registered aquaculturist without the prior written
approval of the department pursuant to the regulations adopted by the
(b) The department shall not approve the importation of, or renew
a permit to import, any anadromous fish or roe thereof listed in
Section 2118 or the regulations adopted under Section 2118 into the
Smith River watershed by a person unless that person had a permit or
authorization approved before February 22, 1988. However, the
department may issue or renew a permit for the importation of any
anadromous fish or roe thereof specifically for research purposes
conducted at any university, college, governmental research agency,
or other bona fide scientific institution, as determined by the
department, engaging in scientific or public health research.

15601. A written application for the importation submitted in
conformance with the procedural requirements established by the
commission is deemed to be approved where it has not been denied
within 60 days.

15604. No facility constructed for the purpose of spawning,
incubating, or raising of anadromous fish listed in Section 2118 in
the Smith River watershed is exempt from any provision of the
California Environmental Quality Act.

15605. (a) Nothing in this chapter prohibits the importation of
Atlantic Salmon or the roe thereof, or the continued possession of
Atlantic salmon or the roe therefrom which were lawfully imported or
possessed on or before February 22, 1988, in the Smith River
watershed under a written approval of the department issued pursuant
to Section 15600.
(b) Nothing in this chapter applies to the importation or
possession of dead Atlantic salmon or nonviable roe therefrom
imported for human consumption if the importer has the appropriate
licenses issued by the department.

15700. The director shall appoint an Aquaculture Development
Committee consisting of the following persons:
(a) At least 12 members representing all sectors of the fresh and
salt water aquaculture industry.
(b) One member representing the department, two members from and
chosen by the University of California, one with expertise in
aquaculture science and one with expertise in outreach to the
fisheries community, and one member each from and chosen by the
Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Coastal
Commission, the State Lands Commission, the State Water Resources
Control Board, the State Department of Health Services, and the Joint
Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. The member of
the committee appointed by the Joint Legislative Committee on
Fisheries and Aquaculture shall meet and, except as otherwise
provided by the California Constitution, advise the committee to the
extent that this advisory participation is not incompatible with his
or her position as a Member of the Legislature.

15701. (a) The term of membership for members other than
representatives of public agencies shall be three years. The
representatives of public agencies shall serve at the pleasure of the
agency that the member represents.
(b) Members of the committee shall serve without compensation.

15702. (a) The committee shall be advisory to the director on all
matters pertaining to aquaculture and shall coordinate activities
among public entities.
(b) The committee shall assist the director in developing and
implementing a state aquaculture plan, identify the opportunities for
regulatory relief, assist in development of research and development
priorities, assist in the development of criteria to assure that
publicly financed pilot programs are compatible with industry needs,
and identify other opportunities for industrial development.

15703. The committee shall meet on the call of the director, but
not less than twice each year.