Hatchery Certification / Compliance

The purpose of the RSSBP Hatchery Compliance Program is to streamline the process for permitting interstate commerce of biosecure hatchery shellfish seed and promote best practices to maintain biosecurity in shellfish hatcheries.  

The program is voluntary and  has been recently modified to consist of two components–a facility component and a product component–to enable broad participation at varying levels of need. 


Facility Component:  To be eligible, the hatchery must be verified compliant with the RSSBP Best Management Practices for Minimizing Disease Risks.  Compliance is determined via:

    1. Comparison of the facility description and documentation of BMP procedures and practices submitted in the application with the RSSBP BMPs.  Facilities whose applications have been reviewed and accepted as meeting the biosecurity standards are considered to be enrolled.
    2. Enrolled facilities will be scheduled for BMP compliance verification via an in-person facility audit.  Audits are conducted by independent experts in the field and are valid for one year, unless a breach occurs (e.g., unexpected disease is detected in a health exam).  If the audit is passed, the facility status is listed as BMP-Compliant Facility.  If the audit result is conditional or failed, the facility remains in the enrolled status until an audit is passed.  To remain a BMP-compliant facility, a renewal form must be submitted and an annual audit passed.

Product Component: Specific shellfish products destined for transfer by a BMP-Compliant Facility may be certified under this Program which ensures products meet biosecurity standards and demonstrates the minimal disease risk of the facility. BMP-compliant facilities successful in certifying specific products will be able to label those products as RSSBP Biosecure, which obviates the need for shipment-by-shipment health evaluations in participating states. For products to maintain RSSBP Biosecure status the facility must continue to be BMP-Compliant and maintain annual disease surveillance on the specific products (as outlined below), and pass an annual health evaluation audit.  Eligible products (specific to species and size) must:

  1. Be held on water treated to eliminate pathogens (e.g., 1µm filtered water or well water).  At this time, nursery products reared in untreated, ambient waters are not being considered under this program. 
  2. Have health evaluation records demonstrating either no detection of pathogens of concern (POC), or an acceptable level of Dermo (light infection, < 5% prevalence).  Health evaluation record requirements:
      • Performed by an approved laboratory,
      • For each species and on the *size desired for transport,
      • Over the previous three years,
      • At a minimum of two sampling events per year during the production season when pathogens are most likely (6 samples over the 3-year period)

*products smaller than the largest product meeting health history standards will be automatically approved given that disease transfer risks are lower for smaller and younger animals.

To Apply – Submit an RSSBP Hatchery Application (for first time applicants) or an annual Renewal Request (for BMP-Compliant Facilities currently in the Program).  Forms must be downloaded (there is no online submission option) and emailed to info@rssbp.org.

Questions?  Contact info@rssbp.org






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