Hatchery Compliance Program


To streamline the process for permitting interstate commerce of biosecure hatchery shellfish seed and to promote best practices to maintain biosecurity in shellfish hatcheries.  

  • The program is voluntary
  • Hatcheries are encouraged to participate by following best management practices (BMPs) to improve the biosecurity of their facility and then document the biosecurity of their products via routine standardized testing.
  • Regulators are encouraged to consider hatchery participation and their status in their evaluation of requests for shellfish seed importations.   
Step 1.  Enrolled Facility  Apply and pass facility documentation review to be enrolled (the first step towards BMP-Compliant facility status) 

To become a BMP-Compliant facility, the hatchery must apply providing adequate documentation that the facility description and practices are compliant with the RSSBP Best Management Practices for Minimizing Disease Risks.  The documentation is reviewed by the project team and compared with the RSSBP BMPs.  Facilities whose applications are accepted as meeting the biosecurity standards (on paper) are listed as enrolled.

Step 2.  BMP-Compliant Facility  Pass an annual facility audit to become a verified BMP-Compliant Facility

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.

Step 3. Biosecure Product(s)  Apply and pass an audit for Biosecure Product status (product component)

Specific shellfish products by a BMP-Compliant Facility may be certified under this Program.  This 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) with records meeting the following requirements:
      • Performed by an independent shellfish pathology 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  and emailed to info@rssbp.org (there is no online submission option).
Questions?  Contact info@rssbp.org



RSSBP Hatchery Compliance Guide 

Scroll to Top