Texas Tilapia Culture

Several tilapia farms in Texas have historically produced about 500,000 pounds of fish annually. But the largest tilapia farm in the state, Simaron, was for sale in 2011-2012 and only produced about 100,000 lbs. The total tilapia production for the state from 2 producers was 150,000 lbs. in 2011, worth $277,000, according to Dr. Ya Sheng Juan and Ron Schmid of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Many sectors of the domestic aquaculture industry are challenged by imports. Tilapia imports alone have risen from about 35 million lbs.. in 1994 to nearly 250 million lbs. in 2004 with continued fast-paced growth in 2010. Tilapia is also another whitefish that competes with channel catfish as another species choice for consumers. (Source:  The Texas Aquaculture Industry, 2012)


The Texas Department of Agriculture coordinates the licensing of aquaculture facilities and vehicles transporting (live) cultured species, in partnership with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Who needs to be licensed?

Aquaculture Facility
A business that produces and sells cultured species raised in a private facility
must obtain an aquaculture license from TDA.

Aquaculture Fish Farm Vehicle

If you plan to transport and sell farmed fish or shellfish from your vehicle, you must obtain a license for it.
You must keep a copy of this license in the vehicle.

* If you have an aquaculture license, you are not required to have a fish farm vehicle license,
but you are required to keep a copy of your aquaculture license in all delivery vehicles.

Water Discharges from Aquaculture Facilities

Factors that trigger a need for aquaculture facilities to obtain either coverage under General Permit TXG130000 or an individual permit for discharges of wastewater.

And you plan to release wastewater into water in the state of Texas:

Then you may qualify for coverage under General Permit TXG130000.

If you don’t qualify for coverage under this general permit, you may require an individual permit for any discharges released.

Contact us if you have questions.

Related content


  1. I live in Houston, Tx and have a small single IBC tote aquaculture system.

    Can you tell me I can buy fingerling tilapia for stocking my system. I’d like to drive to pick them up; as shipping charges are quite high.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.