Shellfish Import Application Permit

(Shellfish - Import Permit)
What is the purpose of this permit?
Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as the competent authority for aquatic disease, pest and invasive species prevention and control is charged with protecting the State’s shellfish aquaculture industry and wild stock fisheries from a loss of productivity due to aquatic diseases or maladies (RCW 77.115.010) and also, more broadly, regulating the prevention and suppression of diseases and pests affecting wildlife or shellfish (RCW 77.12.047). “Shellfish” per WAC 220-12-020(4) is defined as all aquatic invertebrates except insects. “Wildlife” for the purposes of RCW 77.12.047 includes all species of aquatic invertebrates whose members exist in Washington in a wild state (77.08.010) that have not been classified as “shellfish.” Additionally the Department is charged with preventing the introductions and controlling spread of aquatic invasive species (RCW 77.135.020). WDFW’s authority and role is specific to imports into and movements within Washington. Federal authority generally applies to interstate movements, imports into the USA, and international exports. USDA-Aphis and the USFWS provide additional layers of biosecurity in support of the State’s role in preventing and controlling disease. USDA-APHIS has authority to regulate exports, imports, control disease, and engage in eradication activities; additionally USFWS regulates imports of wildlife that may include shellfish or aquatic invertebrates. WDFW consults and coordinates with, as necessary, USDA-APHIS staff, competent authority counterparts in Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, California and Hawaii, the WSDA State veterinarian, plus Treaty tribe shellfish co-management staff. Internally WDFW aquatic invertebrate disease and pest prevention staff coordinates with the Departments Aquatic Invasive Species program to address overlapping requirements of RCW 77.135.020, 77.115.010 and 77.12.047. The Department additionally consults with USFWS in regards to foreign imports. In the event of an in-state Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) or identification of the presence of an OIE listed diseases occurrence WDFW coordinates with USDA-APHIS as necessary to address interstate movements and international exports. WDFW regulatory authority applies to all imported or transferred live aquatic invertebrates, except insects, that are intended to be placed in, or may come in contact with, state waters, or that pose a disease, pest, or invasive species risk. To clarify, that authority is not limited to “shellfish” or “aquaculture.” Additionally the Departments scope of authority extends to facilities, operations, activities, vessels, vehicles, equipment, containers and materials associated with the import or transfer of live aquatic invertebrates; or that pose a definable risk of introducing or transferring disease, pests, or invasive species. Contact with state waters may occur via direct placement of animals into state waters; indirectly via effluent from commercial and non-commercial sources including hatcheries, nurseries, aquaria, processing operations, research facilities, and vessels; indirectly via contaminated materials, containers and equipment; and escape or accidental releases including progeny. Exempt are aquatic insects and “market ready” live shellfish intended for immediate human consumption; except where such live shellfish are “wet stored” in state waters or in contact with water discharged into state waters.
Who issues this permit?
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is called 'Shellfish Import Permit' is online and can be accessed at
How long will it take to review my application?
10 days.
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here:

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 5
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 10

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 34
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 259

(Summary results based on 28 submittals in 2023)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL:
Helpdesk phone: (360) 302-3030 ext 301
Subject matter expert phone: Brady Blake (360) 302-3030 ext 301, Paul Clark (360) 302-3030 ext 304
Subject matter expert email:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
1111 Washington Street SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Telephone: (360) 902-2200
* Permit information last updated 8/7/2019