Nevada Tilapia Culture


Tilapia are a restricted species in Nevada and can only be possessed alive in the state for purposes of commercial aquaculture, or certain other purposes.  This requires a Commercial Possession of Live Wildlife License from the Department of Wildlife.  Private possession of live tilapia for home or personal use is prohibited.  Fish have to be obtained from a commercial vendor approved by NDOW, which requires a Wildlife Importation Permit (there are no legal vendors authorized to sell live fish to a third party in the state).  You can find the information on permit requirements and applications on our web site at:

Approval to have live fish for aquaculture requires providing us with a plan of the proposed facility and your operations that will assure us there is no potential of escape of the fish to the wild, and an inspection of that facility before a license is issued.  Also, produced tilapia cannot be sold live in the state except to another entity which also has a Commercial Possession License for that species.  In other words, for commercial production you could only sell processed dead fish, or live fish to someone with a license (e.g. permitted restaurant or fish market).  For shipment of live fish out of state, you would have to check with the destination state for requirements as those regulations vary with each state.

Commercial Possession of Live Wildlife Licenses are issued by our three regional offices.  The contact information for those offices is on the application instructions at the web site address above.  If you have questions or need further information on permitting you can contact our regional fisheries supervisors directly; for northern Nevada (Reno area) that’s Kim Tisdale at  For southern Nevada (Las Vegas area) you can contact Jon Sjöberg (Tel: 775-688-1530) for now as the Southern Region supervisor’s position is currently vacant.

Source: Jon Sjöberg, Nevada Department of Wildlife


  1. I have a closed system aquaponic garden. Can I raise tilapia for personal consumption? I’m in the desert, miles away from any body of water, and have no intention of selling them, live or dead.


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