Friday Harbor Laboratories
last modified 3/5/15

Research Policies

FHL's Policies Regarding Collecting Organisms

Collecting marine plants or animals for food requires a state fishing license. Licenses are sold in town. Observe limits and do not fish in the Marine Preserves (e.g., you must be 500 yards or 3/4 of the distance towards Brown Island from the FHL shoreline.)

Collecting marine plants and animals in the San Juan Islands for research is by permission of the FHL Director. Collecting elsewhere in Washington (or transferring certain animals within San Juan County) requires a state permit.

Imports of marine organisms from out of state and some transfers from Puget Sound and coastal bays within state require a state permit in advance. These imports usually require quarantine for research. (For more information contact the Shellfish Division of Washington State Fish and Wildlife (2001, RRS).

Keep track of all organisms collected on the FHL Organism Collection Form (below) and return to the FHL Director before your departure.

When collecting, please minimize damage to organisms and populations, obey laws on collecting, use animals efficiently, keep them alive and healthy whenever possible, and return survivors to the site of collection. Other considerations include:

Collecting could reduce abundance of useful animals that have long adult life, low recruitment, or highly restricted distributions. Please be mindful of these concerns when collecting the following species:

Some field research is destroyed by collecting. Check for study sites before collecting. Consult with Megan Dethier ( about sites often used for collecting and sites of ecological research and let them know if you have sensitive field sites that need protecting.

Do not collect in the marine biological preserves, National or State parks or at privately owned tidelands without permission in advance. Do not collect food in any of these areas. Please note: many intertidal areas are privately owned in Washington state. (Contact Megan Dethier for more information about permission and public access.)

Info on Permits and Collecting

Reporting Your Collected Organisms

Your next researcher application will not be approved unless you've reported your collected organisms. You will need to fill a out a separate collection form for each species you collect, regardless of whether they were collected on the same date and/or location.

Online Collection Form

Restrictions On Exotic Species

Most imports of marine species into Washington State for research are illegal without a permit from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Permits, if granted, will require strict quarantine, with no contact with the FHL sea water system. The list below inludes the species that require special permission to collect.

FHL Biological Preserves

SCUBA Diving

Researchers intending to SCUBA dive or snorkel must contact Pema Kitaeff at the time of their application.

Animal Care Review

Researchers intending to work with fishes or other vertebrates are required to submit a project protocol to the Animal Care Committee of the University of Washington. Contact Pema Kitaeff ( at the time of your application. Please note that Animal Care Protocols require at least two months for processing. General procedures for working with fish or other vertebrates are outlined in our Animal Care Standard Operating Procedures document below.

FHL SOP for Collecting Vertebrates

Equal Opportunity Statement

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity in education regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Friday Harbor Laboratories at