What is Processing?

  • Gutting, gilling, or icing fish, and decapitating shrimp on the fishing grounds to maintain product quality are not considered processing.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulates seafood-related activities to protect consumers and public health.

  • "Processing" is an activity that changes the physical condition of a seafood product, including butchering, thermal processing, cooking, dehydrating, freezing, pickling, salting, shucking, or smoking. 18 AAC 34.990(49)
  • "Butcher" means to gut, gill, head, cut, fillet, or otherwise expose the flesh of a seafood product including exposing the scallop adductor muscle and the recovery of roe when it will be processed, or sold to be processed, as a food product. 18 AAC 34.990(5)(A)(B)
  • "Processor" is the owner, operator, or agent in charge of a seafood processing facility who is responsible for processing seafood intended for human consumption. 18 AAC 34.990 (51)
  • Note: Persons who store, clean, package, freeze, and distribute whole seafood products to be sold as part of commerce and intended for human consumption also need DEC permits.

See DEC's Seafood page for DEC Seafood Processing Regulations, or call (907) 269-7628 for information.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) collects taxes on fisheries resources sold, processed, landed in, or exported from Alaska.

  • DOR requires that a person engaging or attempting to engage in a fisheries business or activity first apply for and obtain a fisheries business license. AS 43.75.011(a)
  • "Fisheries business" is defined as a person who engages in processing fisheries resources for sale by freezing, cooking, salting, or other method, and includes but is not limited to canneries, cold storages, freezer ships, and processing plants. AS 43.75.290(2)
  • "Processing" is any activity that modifies the physical condition of a fisheries resource, including butchering, freezing, salting, cooking, canning, dehydrating, or smoking. 15 AAC 75.300(4)

See DOR's Fisheries Related Taxes FAQs or call (907) 269-6620 for information.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game manages the commercial harvest of fisheries resources.

  • "Fish processor" is a person engaging or attempting to engage in a business for which a license is required under AS 43.75. AS 16.10.296 Definitions. (3)
  • "Processing" includes cooking, canning, smoking, salting, drying, or freezing. 5 AAC 39.975(a)(29)(A)-(D)

Contact the Seafood Industry Technician at (907) 465-6131 or email dfg.seafood-coord@alaska.gov

For information on Federal Laws and Regulations