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Louisiana Sea Grant Home

Home > Projects > Completed Projects > FAQs > Retail Seafood Sales

FAQs: RETAIL SEAFOOD SALES

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What makes me a retail seafood dealer?

A Retail Seafood Dealer is any individual person, firm, association, corporation or partnership that buys, acquires or handles any species of seafood (whether processed or not) in Louisiana for resale.

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Who can I buy seafood from?

A Retail License holder may buy, acquire, or handle a catch from a licensed, Louisiana Wholesale/Retail Dealer. He or she may not purchase fish directly from a commercial fisherman.

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Who can I sell seafood to?

Retail Seafood Dealers may only sell directly to the consumer for personal or household use. License holders may not make wholesale transactions (sales intended to be resold).

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How much will it cost to register?

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has separate licenses for sales from a fixed business location and for sales from a vehicle. Each license costs $105.00 for residents and $405.00 for non-residents. You will need multiple licenses if you plan to sell from more than one location.

If the Retail Seafood Dealer License is in the name of an individual (as opposed to a business association), the license is only valid for that individual.

This license is valid for one year, beginning on Jan. 1 and expiring Dec. 31.

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What kinds of records do I need to keep?

You must keep records of the quantity and species of fish acquired, the date the fish was acquired, and the name and license number of the Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer (or the out-of-state seller) from whom the fish was acquired.

License holders must also keep records of the quantity and species sold, the date the sale was made, and the name of the person to whom the seafood was sold.

These records must be in English and be maintained for three years.

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If I am not a commercial fisherman, do I need a license to transport fish?

You will need to purchase a Transport License. This license will allow you to pick up seafood from a valid Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer and transport the product to your place of business. This license costs $30.00 for each vehicle.4

4 The spouse of a commercial fisherman with a secondary fresh products license may sell the fisherman's catch directly to the consumer withouth a Transport License. This is included under the Fresh Products License section.

There is no secondary license for the spouse of a Retail License Dealer. A Seafood Transport License must be purchased in connection with a Retail Seafood Dealer's License.

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What if I sell to people outside of Louisiana?

If you plan on selling to people outside of the state, you will need a Wholesale/Retail License.

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What if I plan to purchase seafood from outside of the state and bring it into Louisiana for resale?

Seafood may only be purchased from those persons legally licensed to sell fish in their state.

If an out-of-state seller brings seafood into Louisiana, the out-of-state seller must be licensed to sell seafood in Louisiana.

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I own a restaurant and retail grocery store, am I exempt from these restrictions?

If you only purchase seafood from a licensed Wholesale/Retail Dealer and you only sell cooked seafood for immediate consumption by a consumer, you are exempt from license requirements. If you are exempt from licensing requirements, you will still need to follow all reporting and records requirements.

Restaurants or grocers selling raw seafood (such as oysters) or sushi are required to obtain a Retail Seafood Dealer’s license if purchasing the seafood from a licensed Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer.

If you own a restaurant or retail grocer and you acquire seafood directly from Wholesale/Retail Dealer and transport this seafood yourself, you are required to have a Retail Seafood Dealer’s License and applicable transport license.

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Do I need to worry about the health department?

You will probably need a Mobile Vendor’s Permit from the Department of Health and Hospitals. This permit must be approved by the Department. There is a $10 per month permit fee for food vendor pushcarts, stands, and mobile units.

If you require a Mobile Vendor’s Permit, you should contact your parish health unit to obtain a permit. You may also need a Permit to Operate issued by the Department of Health and Hospitals.

If you plan on processing (cleaning, shucking, picking, peeling, or packing), even on your own property, you will need a Permit to Operate. In order to get a Permit to Operate, the location must be inspected and approved by a Louisiana State Health officer. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals will not grant a permit for processing in a home or on a boat.

If you are not processing (cleaning, shucking, picking, peeling, or packing) your catch, you do not need a Permit to Operate.

Remember: Even though the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries allows a commercial fisherman to sell peeled and de-headed shrimp and/or gutted, filleted and de-headed fish, this activity requires a permit under the Department of Health and Hospitals.

The Department of Health and Hospital regulations are distinct from those mobile vendor regulations that may be mandated by your parish or municipality. Please make sure to check with your local parish for mobile vendor permit requirements.

Please call the Department of Health and Hospitals for details: 225-342-7773.

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Do I need to have a state–inspected scale?

Yes. At least once a year, your scale must be inspected by the Department of Agriculture. This is to ensure that it is accurate and suitable for commercial use. The cost of having your scale certified varies by the amount of weight it can measure.

A. Category 1 0 to 1,000 Lbs $35.00/year
B. Category 2 1,001 to 10,000 Lbs $80.00/year
C. Category 3 Over 10,000 Lbs $185.00/year

Please call The Department of Agriculture for details: 225-922-1341.

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Do I need to pay sales tax?

Most parishes require that each fisherman selling his catch register with the parish to pay sales tax.

Please call The Department of Revenue, Sales Tax Division (225-219-7356) and your parish for details.

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