The information on this page is intended for educational purposes only and is subject to change. Fishermen should contact the agencies directly to determine what is required for their particular situation.

Oregon State and Local Regulations, Permits and Licenses for Seafood Alternative Markets

Fishermen considering selling their catch directly from their boat, a roadside stand/market, or other alternative market, will need to follow regulations and guidelines and obtain specific licenses, registrations, permits, and certificates from several state and local agencies in addition to the licenses and permits required to fish commercially. Here we provide selected general information, by agency, that highlights some of these requirements and associated fees (as of 2015).

Fishermen should contact the agencies below to determine current requirements and fees and to ensure they are in compliance. When doing so, fishermen will need to be able to describe the seafood products they will be selling -- species, product form (e.g., whole, filet, smoked) -- and the type of alternative market(s) they will use.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)

Commercial Fisheries Division
Contact: Commercial Fisheries Licensing Staff   
Telephone: 503.947.6101 
Information Sources: Licenses and FeesDefinitions and specifications

The following provides selected information about three types of ODFW commercial fish business licenses that may be appropriate for fishermen selling their catch through seafood alternative markets. Fishermen should check the information sources above and contact ODFW directly for up-to-date information and to determine the requirements that apply to their specific situation.

Commercial Limited Fish Sellers Permit

Description: Required if selling all or a portion of the catch to ultimate consumers from the boat.

Annual Fee: $42.00, plus $200.00  bond (2015, subject to change).

Select Details:

  • Only for off-the-boat sales. No sales may occur away from the boat.
  • Cannot be used by others (e.g., spouse, business partner, employee) at any time, only by the licensed fisherman. 
  • Limited processing (loining or filleting) is allowed after the fish is sold and reported and only if it is done on ones’ own vessel, otherwise it will need to meet additional Oregon Department of Agriculture handling and selling requirements. 

Wholesale Fish Dealer's License

Description: Required to process fish or sell to retailers (e.g., fish markets, grocery stores, wholesalers).

Annual Fee: $452.00, plus $1000 minimum bond; $252 Buyers License (to buy product when away from licensed location) (2015, subject to change).

Select Details:

  • Only valid for a single business location where all transactions must occur, such as a home. Note, boats in slips can’t be licensed as wholesale dealers as they do not meet the requirement of a physical address unless the boat is immobile and permanently docked. 
  • A buyer’s license is required for anyone buying from a fisherman away from the fisherman’s business location.

Commercial Fisher Transportation Report

Description: Required of commercial fishermen selling to a wholesale dealer that does not have an unloading facility on the water.

Annual Fee: None.

Select Details:

  • Must have a written transportation report, invoice, or memorandum in hand prior to removing and transporting product to another location.
  • Does not apply to retail fish dealers or wholesale fish dealers

Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA)

The ODA oversees the safe and legal handling and distribution of food products in Oregon State. The following provides information about three programs within the ODA that may pertain to fishermen selling their catch through seafood alternative markets. Fishermen should check the information sources within each program and contact ODA directly for up-to-date information and to determine the requirements that apply to their specific situation.

Weights and Measures Program
Contact: Main Office Staff or Local Inspector
Phone: 503.986.4670 (main office) or see staff contact list by city
Information Sources: License a Scale; Operating a Scale; Schedule of Licensing Fees

Weighing Scale Certification

Description: Scales used to sell seafood must be licensed, tested, and approved by ODA Weights and Measures prior to being used.

Annual Fee: Dependent on scale capacity. 
e.g., $39 for 0-400 pounds, $80 for 401-1,160 pounds, $161 for 1,161-7,500 pounds

Select Details:

  • Must be a legal "for trade scale" and must have a National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) Certificate of Conformance. 
  • Must submit a Placed In Service Report (PISR) within 24 hours of the time the device is first used for business. 
  • Scale must comply with the requirements on the PISR and meet the specifications found in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 44.
  • Product that is weighed and packaged without the customer present must be labeled with the product name, net weight, price per unit and total price as specified in NIST Handbook 130, Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation. Additional information also may be needed on the label per the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

Food Safety Program
Contact: Food Safety Inspector (county contact list)
Phone: 503.986.4720, State Office; see list above for County-Based Offices
Email: None provided. Phone contact preferred.

Retail Food Establishment License (License Type 77)

Description: Required to sell product from your vehicle, stand, or retail store.

Annual Fee: Dependent on annual gross sales (AGS)
e.g., $135 for $0 to $50,000 AGS; $271 for $50,001 to $500,000 AGS (2015, subject to change).

Information Sources: Definition and Resources; Application 

Select Details:

  • Requires submitting a food safety plan review, and compliance with ODA retail food code.

  • May require submission of a HACCP plan along with a Variance application. 

  • All foods sold at the establishment must be produced by a business licensed by either ODA or a County Health Department (depends on location); foods produced in other states must be licensed by the responsible agency in that state.

Food Processor's License ( License Type 59)

Description: Required when fishermen process* their catch.

Annual Fee: Dependent on annual gross sales (AGS)
e.g., $325 for $0 to $50,000 AGS; $460 for $50,001 to $500,000 AGS (2015, subject to change).

Information SourcesDefinition and ResourcesApplication 

Select Details:

  • A HACCP plan is required for all seafood processors and importers.

*Processing (as defined by FDA) includes handling, storing, preparing, heading, eviscerating, shucking, freezing, changing into different market forms, manufacturing, preserving, packing, labeling, dockside unloading, or holding fish and fishery products. Excludes practices such as heading, eviscerating, or freezing solely to prepare a fish for holding on board a commercial fishing vessel.​

Food Storage Warehouse License (License Type 78)

Description: Required to store seafood away from the boat, prior to distribution to others (e.g., wholesalers, retail markets, restaurants, consumers.

Annual Fee: Dependent on annual gross sales (AGS)
e.g., $108 for $0 to $50,000 AGS; $135 for $50,001 to $500,000 AGS (2015, subject to change).

Information Sources: Definition and Resources; Application 

Select Details:

  • Not required for licensed retail food establishments store food to be served to employees, customers or guests. 

  • Not required for licensed food processors who warehouse the finished product at the same location where the food is processed.

Oregon Commodity Commissions
Contact: Commodity Commission Oversight Program Manager
Phone: 503-872-6604
Email:  info@oda.state.or.us

Seafood Commodity Commissions

Description: Additional forms and associated fees must be submitted and paid to the pertinent Seafood Commodity Commission when selling (or buying) certain fishery products (see Select Details below).

Annual Fee: Fees vary by product.

Select Details:

Oregon Health Authority

Public Health Division Food Safety
Contact: Local health inspector
Phone: 971.673.1222 State Office; County County List
Email:  health.webmaster@state.or.us
Information Sources: Forms, Rules, and Guidelines

County and city environmental health departments inspect and license food operations to ensure safe food handling practices. Required permits and fees vary amount counties and seafood alternative markets. The permits and certifications listed below, as well as others, may be required by a given environmental health department. Fishermen should contact their local environmental health department directly for up-to-date information and to determine the requirements that apply to their specific situation. For more information, contact the Department of Health in the county in which you will be operating your business (see county contact list above).

Food Safety Certificate

Required of any food worker engaged in in food handling or food service. Must obtain within 30 days of beginning work.   

Restaurant License

Required if operating a new or previously licensed restaurant as a retail food establishment. 

Temporary Restaurant License

Required for selling seafood at temporary food retail establishments (e.g., farmers’ market, food booths).

Mobile Food Unit License

Required if operating a new or previously licensed mobile unit as a food retail establishment (e.g., food carts, food trucks). 

Commissary Kitchen Agreement

May be required to allow a food retailer, caterer or mobile food unit access and use of a licensed retail food establishment as a kitchen. The agreement often requires cosigning by the food establishment, the kitchen operator and approval by the local environmental health advisor.

Local Authorities

Depending on the type of market and where it is located, additional documents may be required from local authorities. Below are a few examples of such requirements.


Local harbors/marinas may have their own requirements for selling ones catch off their boat or at a dockside (or fishermen’s) market. In some cases, only certain products or types of markets are allowed. 


City government may require a business license, vendor’s licenses, or both if selling from a vehicle or stand within city limits. Also, selling from private property requires proof of permission from the property owner, having an appropriate business license and meeting local zoning requirements.


County  government (planning department) may require meeting zoning regulations and providing proof of permission from appropriate agencies (e.g., state highway division, county road office) when selling form a vehicle or stand on a public right-of-way where others can transit or from property owners if selling from private property.


Adapted from Johnson et al. 2007. Appendix K: State and Local Regulations in Oregon. In: Fishermen’s Direct Marketing Manual. Pp. 78-79.

Additional permits and other documentation usually are needed to establish an alternative market. Be sure to consult with resource management, public health and business authorities before selling your seafood.

Information provided on this page was synthesized from interviews with fishermen and buyers, and from the Fishermen’s Direct Marketing Manual, the Small Farm and Direct Marketing Handbook, ATTRA publications, and other resources (see About this Website and Resources).